2nd December  2001, Volume 8, Issue 20

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reviewpic1.jpg (45259 bytes) The month of Christmas begins...

By Lakshman de Silva

It is the month of loving and giving - and what could be more appropriate than to take a second look at what was said by Jesus and the saints many years ago....

Turn on your TV, and the world instantly comes into your home. But what a world! Full of sin, violence, wars and rumours of wars, assassinations, kidnappings, terrorist activity and sex.

We rightly call our time the period of wars. Never in history could a war have been misunderstood as bringing the end of the world. Thus it can he concluded that Jesus spoke about our time, but he added that we should not be troubled, since this is not the end. First there will be a period when the gospel will he preached to all the nations of the earth.

Prophet Isaiah said God's measure is different from ours. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways .... yes the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts."

The future is known only to God, neither the angels nor the saints know future events, - unless it is made known to them.

Blessed ford Jesus made use of prophecy in two ways to prove his messianic and divine claims. He showed that he fulfilled all the prophecies of the old testament that had foretold his life in detail while himself making prophecies that were fulfilled both in his lifetime and generations later. There are yet prophecies referring to the last days yet to be fulfilled.

Many pious Catholic saints and mystics have claimed the gift of prophecy. Since all such comes under the heading of private revelation it is not binding upon the people to believe.

It will be noted in reading private prophecy, that a great many of those that threaten calamities to the human race - and do not refer to the last days - are conditional in quality. It is made clear that if man turns from his sins, returns to God, and does penance, the scourges will not fall. Such were the messages given by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes, La Salette and Fatima. The same applies also to messages given by Jesus and Mary to Catholic saints and mystics. It is well to remember this 'conditional' qualification when reading such prophecies.

Mother Shipton born in Yokshire England in 1846 prophesied automobiles, airplanes, submarines and radio. On July 13, 1917 the Virgin Mary gave the three children Lucy, Francis and Jacintha a secret message which was in three distinct parts. Years later (two of the children having died) Lucy received permission from heaven to reveal the first two.

The first part of the secret was a terrifying vision of Hell and the following message from the Blessed Virgin. "You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.

"The war (First World War) is going to end, but if people do not stop offending God another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pope Puis XI (Second World War) which is now history. If my requests, are heeded Russia will be converted and there will be peace, otherwise Russia will spread her errors throughout the world promoting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyred. The Holy Father the Pope will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated."

Continuing, she said, "In the end my Immaculate Heart shall triumph, the Holy Father shall consecrate Russia to me, she will be converted and a period of peace will be given to the world.

Many Catholic prophecies tell of a series of wars and if mankind persists in sin something far worse: a heavenly scourge in which God will directly punish and purify the world.

Teresa Neumann (September 6, 1936) - words of Jesus - "The provocations have attained their height. The furies of Hell rage now. The chastisement is inevitable. Every future petition to spare them displeases me. If you petition me for the conversion of dying sinners in the last hour I will hear you. No! Do not petition me to prevent this chastisement."

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (died 1837) "God will ordain two punishments: one in the form of wars and other evils, the other well be sent from heaven - a scourge which will be frightful and terrible."

Venerable Maria of Agreda (died 1665) "An unusual chastisement of the human race will take place towards the end of the world.

"There shall come over all the earth an intense darkness lasting three days. He who out of curiosity opens his window to look out or leave his house will fall dead on the spot. During these three days the people should remain in their homes and pray the Rosary and beg God for Mercy. The air shall be infected with demons who will appear under hideous forms. After the three days of darkness Saints Peter and Paul will designate a new Pope. A great light will flash from their bodies, and will settle upon the Cardinal, the future pontiff. There shall be innumerable conversions. England, Russia and China will come into the Church."

Holzhauser (died 1658). "The fifth period of the Church (our present times) dates from the reign of Charles V until the reign of the Great Monarch. The sixth period of the Church which will be just after the chastirement will be the period from the great Monarch until Anti-Christ."

"The sixth period will be a time of consolation - begins with the Holy Pope and the powerful Emperor, and terminates with the reign of Anti-Christ. The great Monarch will be a descendant of Lousi IX. He will rule supreme in temporal matters. The Holy Pope will rule supreme in spiritual matters. Persecution will cease and justice, shall reign. Peace will reign over the whole earth, for Divine power shall bind Satan for many years until the coming of the Anti-Christ."

The three days of darkness have been prophesied by many more saints including Blessed Padre Pio the stigmatist who died in 1968. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II recently.


Virtuoso in SOSL's X'mas concert

Rohan de Lanerolle started singing aged six with Kalasuri Lylie Godrige. He now trains under Russel Bartholomeusz, his former choirmaster at St. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia. At St. Thomas' Rohan was awarded the Best Performer's award for singing and the Best Actor's award as the Villain in the Bishops Candlesticks, from Les Miserables. He played Lieutenant Joseph Cable in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific in 1994. His career in classical singing started in the Choro Philharmonie under Rohan Joseh de Saram, singing Verdi's 'Chorus of the Herbrew Slaves' from Nabucco.

In 1994, de Lanerolle made his solo debut with the Sri lanka Philharmonic Pops Orchestra. Since, he has made many appearances on local stages, performing songs from musicals including The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Showboat, and is especially well known for his rendition of 'Ol Man River'. In 1995 he made his solo opera debut with the Sri Lanka Philharmonic Players' Society as Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto, its first opera production, and then song in their La Treaviata. He was also chorus leader of the Choro Philharmonie and returned as soloist with the Philharmonic Pops Orchestra.

After completing grade eight of the British Royal Schools of Music examinations, in 1996 de Lanerolle was invited to Singapore as guest soloist for the Christmas service of St. Andrew's Cathedral. In 1997 he performed the lead role as Narrator in Blood Brothers in Colombo, and was soloist in J.S. Bach's Magnificant in D, conducted by Lalanath de Silva.

In 1998 he made his debut with the Chamber Orchestra of St. Thomas' College. In 1999 he was baritone soloist in the first performance Lalanath de Silva's Requiem Orbis Terrarum and in Devar Suriya Sena's Sinhala Liturgy performed at St. Michael and All Angels Church, Colombo. He also made his solo debut with the Symphonic Pops Orchestra at their concert celebrating American Labour Day, and with Swedish Soprano Annett Toeronto in Saint-Saens's Christmas Oratorio at the Millennium Concert at Ladies College Hall, Colombo.

He made his Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka debut in 2000 performing the baritone solos from Faure's Requiem and 'The Trumpet shall Sound' from Handel's Messiah. In April 2000 he toured Singapore for a second time, singing at two services at St. Andrew's Cathedral, also performing 'The Trumpet Shall Sound' for Easter Sunday and 'Lord God of Abraham' from Elijah for the enthronement service of the Eight Bishop of Singapore.

In November 2000 he was soloist in the first performance of Sri Lanka's sitar-player Pradeep Ratnayake's debut performance of Indrakeelaya to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

de Lanerolle gave his first recital in Birmingham at Knowle Church in January 2001. He also has just completed his first recording with Rohan de Silva of New York's Julliard School and with James Ross at the Sheldonian in Oxford in Jon Clarke's first performance of Lament. He also performed with Sri Lankan pianist Soundarie David in July at Windsor Parish Church, Windsor in July 2001.

Future performances are with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka for the Christmas concert scheduled for the December 8 and as soloist for the nine lessons and carols at St. Andrews Cathedral in Singapore.

SOSL Christmas concert programme - 2001

Wolfgang A. Mozart - Overture to The Impresario

(Der Schauspieldirektor) KV486

Johan Strauss Jnr. - The Blue Danube Waltzes "Ander schonen blauen                                   Donau" Op. 314

Victor Herbert    - Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor Op. 30 - Allegro                                   impetuoso, Andante tranquillo, Allegro

Dushyanthi Perera - CelloInterval

George F. Handel  - Recitative and Aria: "Arm, Arm, Ye Brave"
                                from Judas Maccabaeus

Wolfgang Mozart   - Aria: "Non Piu Andrai" from The Marriage of Figaro

Andrew Lloyd Webber - Love Changes Everything (Publishers: Chester
                                   Music Limited, London)

Adolphe Adam       - Cantique d'Noel (O Holy Night)

Peter Cornelius      - The Three Kings arranged by Ivor Atkins

Stephen Adams     - The Holy City arranged by Cyril Watters

Rohan de Lanerolle Jnr. - Baritone

John Rutter      - Christmas Lullaby Christmas Carols with audience
                                participation Joy to the world Hark! The Herald
                                Angels sing O Come, All Ye Faithful

Geo. L. Zalva     - Irving Berlin Cavalcade


Is sugar the new fat?

You try to look after yourself. You reduced your intake of saturated fat years ago, you're not overweight, you don't smoke. Basically, you don't consider yourself at risk of developing heart disease.

Sorry to disappoint you, but there's something your have overlooked: Syndrome X.

The name, coined by Gerry Reaven of Stanford University in the late Eighties, sounds threatening and with good reason.

Syndrome X is a hidden but life-threatening perversion of bodily metabolism that is likely to hasten the end of anyone who has it.

It's alarmingly common. What is more, evidence is growing that we can bring it on ourselves by the way we eat. 'We're suffering from chronic food intoxication', says Werner Waldhausl, editor of the journal Diabetologia.

In well-fed parts of the world, one-third of the adult population may have succumbed already, and there will be plenty more in the pipeline.

Most of them won't know that there's problem yet-because the early stages go unnoticed.

All the same, the symptoms are all there: high blood pressure, raised levels of tell-tale fats called triglycerides found in the blood, and insulin resistance - an acquired resistance to the body's vital glucose-handling hormone.

Diabetes and heart disease are lying in wait for anyone with this group of symptoms, collectively known as Syndrome X. "The syndrome is a major cause of coronary heart disease," Reaven says, though no one can yet be more precise than that.

So what causes it? After decades of sometimes acrimonious debate, researchers may be nearing an answer. Sugar. And cutting it out of our diet can really make a difference.

Because what sugar does to our body can be just as damaging and toxic as a high-fat, diet. What is more, our 'grazing' pattern of eating could be making matters even worse.

Victor Zammit, head of cell bio-chemistry at the Hannah Research Institute in Ayr, Scotland, believes that the road to Syndrome X begins with frequent high-energy snacks, filled with sugar, exposing the liver to insulin for long periods without a long enough break.

This sets off the chain of events listed opposite, that can lead to heart disease and the need for life-saving daily insulin injections.

It's a frightening scenario, but we can do something about it. For a start, we can exercise to use as many of our muscles as possible, to help them use up excess fatty fuel.

New research by Christina Koutsari and Adrianne Hardman, physiologists at the University of Loughborough, reveals that a moderate amount of daily exercise may prevent the dramatic rise in blood triglyceride levels that happens when healthy volunteers switch to a high-sugar diet.

And contrary to the trend to eat little and often, Zammit recommends that we eat less frequently - leaving four or five hours between meals and cutting out snacks altogether.

He reckons our livers have evolved to cope with infrequent meals. Two meals a day could be better for you than continual snacking.

We have to watch what we eat as well as when. Eating or drinking certain things can stimulate the liver to flood the bloodstream with the triglycerides (fats) that promote heart disease - and have just as detrimental an effect as ingesting saturated fat itself.

"Basically, foods high in fructose - and that includes ordinary sugar, sucrose, because sucrose is half fructose and half glucose - may be just as bad as saturated fats," says Zammit.

Not everyone agrees that fructose is dangerous. Some say there's not enough in our diet to have any noticeable effect.

But a wealth of animal studies support the idea. Feed a lab rat fructose at levels comparable to those in human diets, and it develops insulin resistance, even if it stays lean.

Last year, researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada fed a high fructose diet to Syrian golden hamsters, which have a fat metabolism remarkably similar to humans.

In weeks, the hamsters developed Syndrome X-including high triglyceride levels and insulin resistance.

And a powerful study of fructose's effects on humans was published last year. Clinical nutritionist John Bantle and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis fed a diet containing 17 per cent of the total energy as fructose to two dozen healthy volunteers for six weeks. It sounds like a lot of fructose, but Bantle reckons that at least 27 million Americans eat this much in their diet.

They then fed the volunteers a diet sweetened with glucose and nearly devoid of fructose. The results were dramatic, particularly in the men, who proved to be more sensitive than women to fructose. Why this should be so is not yet clear.

"The fructose diet produced significantly higher triglyceride concentrations in the blood, compared to the glucose diet," says Bantle. In men, levels were 42 per cent higher.

He would like to see a marked reduction in the amount of fructose added to beverages and food in the Western diet.

"It's a wake-up call for the food industry," says Zammit. "Food manufacturers are good at labelling processed foods as 99 per cent fat free. What they don't say is that they are 15 per cent sugars, which is probably worse than some fats."

"I am concerned that people may deliberately select low-fat processed foods, thinking they are making a healthy choice, and yet the product could be high in fructose."

And it's not just sweet tooth we must resist, it's our liking for sweet drinks. Zammit suspects high-sugar soft drinks could be the most worrying component of the modern diet.

The dangers of fructose are not yet widely known, and the amounts consumed in the average Western diet have shot up since the 1970s.

Worse still, food manufacturers in the late Sixties started to use a cheap sweetener, corn (maize) syrup, which is virtually pure fructose. It's added to all sorts of food, including most breakfast cereals and a vast range of processed foods.

Scientists acknowledge that to change our ways, we need help - if only to resist all those tempting convenience foods filling supermarket shelves.

If the food industry is reluctant to take on board the new health messages, it could be 'strongly regulated' to produce a tasty but healthy diet.

Such a change might even be in food producers' own interests. Perhaps, says Waldhausl, the industry will one day be forced to pay damages 'similar in scale to those awarded against the tobacco industry today' to consumers made fatally ill by eating their products.

- Courtesy The Daily Mail

What sugar does to the body

  • Frequent high-energy snacks release high glucose into the blood stream.
  • This stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin for unhealthily long periods.
  • When insulin is present for a long time, it flicks a metabolic switch in the liver.
  • This stimulates the liver to produce triglycerides into the blood stream.
  • Body tissues become insulin resistant.
  • Circulating fats are converted to bad cholesterol.
  • Bad cholesterol raises the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Our fatty cells, bombarded with extra calories to store in the form of triglycerides and glucose, succumb to insulin resistance.
  • Overloaded fat cells flood the blood with fatty acids, which start killing the insulin-secreting pancreatic cells.
  • Insulin levels plummet. Glucose accumulates in the blood and a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is made.
  • If you fail to change your diet, the destruction of insulin-secreting cells continues apace.
  • Eventually, daily injections of insulin are needed to stay alive.

* * * * * *

Feeling fruity?

The take-home message from the latest nutritional research is that if you feel like something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit. Fructose is found in fruit and vegetables, but unlike processed foods it's present in very small amounts and is bound up with complex plant fibre and other nutrients that offer many health benefits. In 1999, researchers at Harvard even went so far as to suggest that every extra fruit or serving of vegetables consumed each day reduced the risk of a stroke by 6 per cent.


Karaoke at the Galadari Hotel

The Galadari Hotel is pleased to announced the holding of a Karaoke competition, commencing November 23, 2001. The competition will thereafter be held on every Friday and Saturday till the December 15. The final is scheduled to take place on the December 22.

Competitors chosen on a particular Friday or Saturday will go straight onto the finals. Those who are interested should call over at the Karaoke Lounge of the Galadari, on any Friday or Saturday commencing November 23, and ending December 15, by 8.00 pm to fill in the entry slip and select the song of their choice. Competition starts at 8.00 pm sharp on each day. So let's see all you talented people. "Sing and enjoy - it's later then you think!" the coordinator for this competition is Mervyn Dirckze.


The Ayurveda factory

By Hemamala Wickramage

It was like an ayurveda factory. Herbs here and herbs there.

Dr. Sujeewa Vithana seems to know every herb by name, where it came from and the many uses of each herb.

Ayurveda is serious business here. But there is no business - only a nominal rate is charged and hundreds of patients are treated with these herbs for different kinds of problems.

If someone tells you there's an alternative treatment for heart by-pass without surgery, surely one may be hesitant in believing it. But in fact there is one. It's called'Pranajeewa' ayurvedic oil. The miracle healer is Ven Dr. Waga Ganaloka thero who is in his mid seventies. He hails from Waga a village in the Awissawella region and has an ayurvedic background. He calls his way of treatment, a family tradition. His father and fore fathers all being involved in ayurvedic treatment. Many years ago he moved to his modest 'Weda Medura' on Batalanda Road at Makola South where he is freaquently visited by hundreds of patients everyday.

A large part of the premises is allocated to store various spices and herbs used in the medicine making. A similar amount of space is also taken up to store letters of appreciation sent by his grateful former patients. Ganaloka thero, who has a sound technical and mechanical knowledge, has invented a unique machine in the shape of a grinder to extract juices from raw herbs in order to save the precious essence of the particular herb.

"We never use dried herbs that are sold in the shops. Our suppliers bring in the raw herbs and the drying up process is done under strict supervision. We make everything here including the oils, needed," he stressed.

He's also a world renowned physician having had treated successfully thousands of people around the globe. Ven Ganaloka has been treating people for the past 30 years, he also has an arts degree and is fluent in, languages such as, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil and Hindi. He is also credit with curing many heart patients and has prevented many more from going under the surgeon's knife.

It is learnt that the Pranajeewa oil which is known to cure many diseases labeled as incurable in the west in currently under going tests and to ascertain it's efficacy. Japanese researchers who have worked on this versatile natural herbal product have discovered that it contains no harmful elements and is totally non toxic.

Amongst the latest set of patients to benefit from this oil are six AIDS sufferers. While admitting his oil is not the ultimate cure for the HIV virus, Ven Ganaloka says these six patients who are being treated by him have claimed that their condition hasn't worsened since they took up his treatment. "One advantage that my patients have is that they can continue their current western method of treatment while using Pranajeewa oil. This is in fact a two way process to tackle the illness which benefits the patients than a single mode of treatment.

According to Ganaloka thero, this special healing oil has potential to fight other deadly illnesses such as cancer, brain tumors, diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis and paralysis. Most of his patients who also had histories with asthma, hemorrhoids have also recorded satisfactory results after using this miracle oil.

Explaining to The Sunday Leader as to how the oil is prepared the thero said his team of twenty, goes through great pains to bring the oil to perfection. "We use 280 local varieties of medicinal herbs and local substances as well as ingredients brought especially from Egypt and India. "It takes around four and a half months to make the oil. A total of six hundred bottles of water are used to make a single container. The mixture of herbs, is simmered until the contents boil down to one eighth of the quantity. It's a prolonged process and a mammoth operation" he elaborated.

Amongst the sufferers of other illnesses who has found solace with the 'Pranajeewa' oil are patients with filaria, Parkinson's disease and also people with various other cardio-vascular problems such as blocked arteries, enlarged heart, irregular heart beat and high cholesterol. It is said, even leukaemia patients have shown remarkable improvement since taking up Ven. Ganaloka thero's treatment. One of the other important aspects of his treatment is that the oil works as a preventative for bodily organ failure that results from extensive western treatment of diabetes. Even though the Ven Ganaloka does not treat women with breast cancer he treats those with fertility problems.

Ven Ganaloka was grateful to the Commissioner of Ayurveda, and also Ayurvedic board of physicians whom he said assist him with the supply of certain proscribed herbs such as Abin which are not available in the open market. He however mentioned that the current restrictions on the importation of Rath Handun and Sudu Handun (Red and White Sandle wood) has hindered his preperational process.

Assisting the Ven Ganaloka is Sujeewa Vithanage, an ayurveda graduate of Colombo University who has undergone training under the monk for several years. During which time he has helped to cure many patients with various serious illnesses. Speaking to The Sunday Leader Sujeewa said, it was a rare opportunity to work under a physician like Ganaloka thero who has so much dedication and commitment towards the betterment of fellow human beings.


Six ways to know vitamin deficiency

For most people, malnutrition means television images of emaciated Third World figures. But malnutrition doesn't just occur from an acute lack of calories that can kill within weeks. It si also caused by a chronic depletion of `micro-nutrients' such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and dietary fibre.

There may be no obvious short-term effects, but these deficiencies and leave a legacy of lasting ill health and lead to premature death. Various activities or conditions can either increase our requirements for these vitamins and minerals or reduce the body's ability to absorb them from food. So are you at risk?

  • Dieters should be aware that when food intake is reduced, the intake of micro-nutrients is also reduced. Yet the body's requirements for certain vitamins and minerals may actually increase during periods of weight loss. Vegans and vegetarians should plan their diet carefully and are particularly at risk of deficiency in Vitamins D and B12.
  • Drinking and smoking can lead to malnutrition. Each cigarette uses up large amounts of Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants which is one reason why smokers are more vulnerable to heart disease and cancer. Too much alcohol depletes the body of B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and calcium.
  • Women are especially prone to nutrient deficiency. Oral contraceptives are though to increase the need for folic acid, Vitamins B and C and zinc, Pregnancy and breast feeding increase the need for B complex vitamins, folic acid, Vitamins A, D and probably E and minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Post-menopausal women need more calcium, magnesium and other minerals to save their bones as well as Vitamins A, D, C, B, E and K. Other vegetable-derived compounds are important, too.
  • General lifestyle factors can also cause depletion of essential vitamins and minerals. Sun-worshippers use up anti-oxidants. Taking Vitamins A, C and E and increasing carotenoid and flavonoid intake better protects skin against the ageing effects of ultra-violet radiation.
  • Accidents, illness and surgery all increase the need for vitamins and minerals, including calcium, zinc and magnesium as well as vitamins A, B, C and E.
  • Even keep-fit fanatics could be malnourished. Heavy exercise burns more oxygen and, therefore, increases the requirements for anti-oxidants. Large quantities of zinc and other minerals can be lost through perspiration and need to be replaced.

How Thushara landed a toad . . .

As the overall winner of the nature photographers competition 2001 Thushara Weerakody is most definitely thrilled to bits. He got to walk away with the prize money of one hundred thousand rupees

By Shalindra Seneviratne

Explaining the judge's decision, Gehan de Silva Wijeratne, the competition chairman explained that this image stood out for its artisry. "The image demontrated how wildlife photography could go beyond the traditional role of recording detail, into one which demonstrates artistry" he said addressing the gathering at the press briefing and the awards presentation

The categories were action portraits of mammals, birds, other animals, plant life and wild landscapes and the young nature photographer. The judges who short- listed these incredible photographs are Namal Kamalgoda, (NDB Fund manager) Dominic Sansoni, (photographer and Barefoot entreprenuer) Tara Gandhi, (a conservationist) Lester Perera (wildlife tour leader and artist) and Lal Anthonis (wildlife photographer)

The awards were presented by Jayantha Jayawardena of the Sri Lanka Nature fame, who is also a conservationist. He presented the awards to the winners of the Action or Portraits: Mammals category. The first award went to Kushlan Perera, for "The two bickering leopard cubs." The second award went to Kariyawasam Keer- thiratne, and the third to Chitral Jayatilleke.

The second category of Action or Portraits: Birds, the first award went to Rukshan Jayawardena for the entry of "Hawk eagle with land monitor." The second award went to Kumara Peters, and the third to Vajira Wijegunawardena.

The third category of Action or Portraits: Other animals, the first award went to Thushara Weerakody, who is also the overall winner of Nature Photographer 2001, for the entry "Corrugated Frog." The second award went to Gopal Iyer, and the third to Sampath Amarasekera.

The fourth category of Plantlife, the first award went to Indrajith Seneviratne for his entry "A Palu tree in the dry zone." The second award also went to Indrajith Seneviratne for the entry of swirling waters, the third award went to A. R. M. I Sanjeevani for the entry of a tree bark with faces on it.

In the Wild landscape category the first award went to Marlon Perera for his entry "Cliffs in Nullabom National" The second award went to Kariyawasam Keerthiratne and the third award was went to Mahesh Prasanna.

In the Young Nature Photographers category Dinesh Ekanayake walked away with the first award for his entry "Troops of Hanuman Langurs." The second award went to Ruchira Somaveera, and the third award went to Bimantha Perera.

Over 1500 images from 315 photographers competed in this event which may have drawn the widest public participation in Sri Lanka for an event of this nature. A selection of the 60 best images are on display at the National Library and Document Centre at 14 Independence Avenue Colombo 7 (Not the Public library).

The exhibition is open to the public from 9.00am to 7.00pm between Thursday November 29, till December 9. ( However the exhibition may close between the December 4 - 6 due to the elections)


Dance your way to good health.

By Ranee Mohamed

In Colombo, Rene Callis is a VIP guest at the Galadari Hotel. But in Pretoria, South Africa, she has her own school of dance, perhaps the largest there. It is a strange coincidence that this great dancer is here in this season of goodwill where there is a spring in every step!

Not everyone can become an examiner for dancing, but Rene trained in England twelve years ago to become an examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance.

Rene, feels that dancing is the greatest compliment to the human form said that she admires all forms of dance. "Be it Kandyan or Indian or Jazz, I think dancing requires disciplining both of the mind and body," she said. She stressed on the importance of learning classical ballet, especially for little girls who, she said, will acquire a better posture and also greater confidence by learning this dance form

"It stays with them even after they have stopped dancing. With classical ballet you strengthen up your back and torso. But the training matters. We have to realise the importance of the right kind of training," she warned. Wrong training can give problems to the body. Rene, however did not stop at that, she went on to vouch for the benefits of any kind of dance, taught and learnt in the correct manner. "In the years gone by a lot of people said "get up," " jump," "point your feet." But today it doesn't work like that anymore. Scientific training matters," stressed Callis.

While people may dance for various reasons, Callis said that those people who feel that dancing is good not only for the body, but to burn calories, should concentrate on a good diet.

Here in Colombo, for a brief visit to be examiner representing the Royal Academy of Dance, Rene took hundreds of students a step ahead by being their examiner at the dance examinations conducted by three leading dance schools in Colombo - Deanna Jayasuriya's Deanna school of dancing, Niloufer Pieris' Nelung dance academy and the students of Hannerole Jayasundera.

Classical ballet is not a subject that interests everyone, but this classical ballet dancer and examiner has a wider outlook on the whole dance world.

"I admire Michael Jackson, I think he is wonderful.. He is a brilliant dancer. He manages to move his body in such a way that he looks like rubber. That is with training. It would have taken many years to do that. It is the art of dancing, to be able to dance naturally and I really wonder how he does that moonwalk of his, the way he does it backwards..." She says in amazement. "A lot of people can move but they are either in the front of the music or behind it," observed Callis. She also spoke of the wonder of Spanish dance and the thinking that has to go into this dance form - requiring the movement of the body and the coordination of the mind.

"Classical ballet is the basic of any dance form," said Rene. "If you have the training and basic background of classical ballet any other dance form becomes so much easier because it has a holistic approach. It is not just the body, but the body and mind. So, if you discipline the mind, things become so much easier," she added.

"This is not just something that happens overnight, the training might be from six and perhaps go on till eighteen," she said.

Rene who started dancing at the age of eight. She has been dancing for over two decades.

This dancer and examiner said that people should keep dancing and more importantly be on the move. Rene Callis said that we should break away from sedentary lifestyles. "Train for 45 minutes twice a week and even children will begin to understand what they are doing with their bodies. When they stand, they will begin to stand up straight. They will not be slouching anymore," she said.

"The best age to start classical ballet is the age between six and eight. But a girl with natural mobility of her limbs can even start at a later age. The same with boys. It is not a sissy thing for boys to dance. The boys ought to be strong to partner the girls,"said Callis.

"Men, irrespective of their age should concentrate on dancing. The Latin American and even the ballroom dancing requires that we carry ourselves properly," she said. "Dancing is a very social thing it creates interaction between people. It makes children be able to work with one another. The adults too get a lot of confidence."

Callis said that adults do various things to get into shape. "I am sure there is a lot of good in every kind of exercise, but the secret is to do it properly." She said that people who go to the gym should take the advise of a trainer and aerobics should be done with proper instructions. The instructors should be aware of how the body should be aligned over the feet. "I can do anything with my body and I know what will harm me and what will not," she said.

The battle of the bulge is the greatest battle today and some of us may cause injury to ourselves by doing things the wrong way.

About jogging and running, Callis, who is a wealth of knowledge on the human form, said that jogging will jarr our knees, our back and our ankles. "In my opinion, I wouldn't say it is wonderful. If you have the right shoes, maybe we can take some of the pounding that jogging involves. The shoes ought to be pliable," she said. Rene Callis however said that walking is perhaps the safest form of exercise for it does not cause any strain on the body. But stressed on the wonders of water-aerobics performed under resistance from water.

"Unfortunately, we are all what we eat. It doesn't help to go dancing and eat a lot. You have to cut the intake of food. But people ought to eat properly," she stressed. "But then bodies are different. Some pepole lose weight on the carbohydrate diet, some on the protein and some lose weight by merely eating fruit. But I think everyone ought to have their three meals a day. There is no point in starving yourself. People who starve do not realise that when we starve our brain tells our body that our body is not receiving any food and the metabolism may slow down," warned Callis.

"If you exercise and eat correctly, then we will leat a very healthy lifestyle. It is also not healthy to eat properly and not exercise. In my opinion they go hand in hand. Anything in moderate proportions cannot be bad for you, " she said.

Rene Callis who is content with life has found both serenity and discipline in dancing. She says that she would not be anything else in t he world other than what she is today. For someone so engaged in this beautiful art, it seems that she is rewarded with a beautiful form, walking and talking with confidence. "Dancing has its ups and downs but I would not be anything else in the world than what I am today," she said.

 

 

 

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