Kapila Punchimannage and Dharisha Bastian
was in the air that Wednesday afternoon on the shores
of Ambalangoda. The seas which had been tranquil all season
had suddenly grown rough and winds swirled around
menacingly, according to people in the area. In fact,
the overly superstitious would say all of nature was in the
know and conspiring against one lost youth on August 4 this
tributes to motherhood
of eating animal protein
tribute to those who changed lives...
on three wheelers
snatch thieves, rapists and fat with karate
Tests of time and Grieving family
Kapila Punchimannage and Dharisha Bastian
was in the air that Wednesday afternoon on the shores
of Ambalangoda. The seas which had been tranquil all season had
suddenly grown rough and winds swirled around
menacingly, according to people in the area. In fact, the
overly superstitious would say all of nature was in the know and
conspiring against one lost youth on August 4 this year.
south bound train speeding along the track and a careless teenager
playing ghost with his shirt - a recipe for disaster one would
rightly assume. In this case, not merely disaster but a life snuffed
out too soon, a dream dashed that was about to be realised.
Nilantha De Silva was the only son in a family of six. His family
was not well off and had to work hard for survival but Chaturanga's
father Kedaris believed in educating his children to ensure a better
quality of life for them.
had lived a carefree three months after completing his G.C.E.
Advanced Level examination. After a gruelling two years preparing
for Sri Lanka's most competitive exam, Chaturanga liked to spend his
time around friends he had been recently acquainted with - sea
bathing, staying up all night at funeral houses or sitting for hours
on a rail track talking of life and the universe. At home, he was an
avid music enthusiast, singing and playing his set of local drums.
"He even went to sleep listening to music on the radio,"
said Chaturanga's mother, Padma.
that fateful afternoon, after a bath in rough seas, Chaturanga was
returning home with his friends when the unthinkable happened.
Describing the incident, his friends said it seemed like Chaturanga
had been in a trance, draping his shirt over his head and lingering
on the tracks as the wind howled around him, making him deaf to the
approaching train. A few days after his death, Chaturanga's A/L
results showed that he had achieved distinction passes in all his
subjects - three As.
De Silva's star had just begun to shine. Academically, he was a
late-developer, never having shown much aptitude for book-learning
during his primary education. His teachers said he had never been a
very studious child until under a year ago in Year 13, as he was
preparing for his A/Ls. At the Ordinary Level, he had passed four
subjects, but when Chaturanga entered the arts stream and took up
Buddhist civilisation, political science and Sinhala for subjects,
he knew he had discovered his niche. Never had that set of parents
known their youngest son to be so focused on his one goal - to enter
will be getting my A/L results soon," Chaturanga cheerfully
told his friends moments before the accident. According to engine
driver, Stanley Perera's statement to the police, a boy ran across
the railway tracks that afternoon, in an apparent attempt to end his
life. The lingering question though is why the boy's last words were
so gleeful if he had by then decided to take his own life.
happened on the rail tracks that day is a mystery to us," said
Chaturanga's A/L class teacher. "We had heard that his group of
friends were not the best company, since none of them had done their
exams. Could they have influenced and warped my son," wonders
a dream world
the sudden freedom Chaturanga had come to know since leaving school
been too heady for the young boy to handle? The waiting period after
completing an examination that is to decide the course of the rest
of a student's life can often be overbearing. It is a transitionary
state that is none too comfortable, a stage of listlessness and
detachment from the familiar.
the long and enforced period of transition between ending a 14 year
school career and beginning life as an adult more than Chaturanga
could cope with? In his dreamy state, did he give vent to a
subconscious desire to end his life? Was his faith in being able to
get through the exam faltering? All questions to which the answers
may just be buried with one of Ambalangoda's brightest stars on its
son had apala"
De Silva believes that all was not well astrologically for
Chaturanga around the time of his death. She says her son had
no enemies and therefore does not suspect foulplay but is at a
loss to understand for what reason her son would have taking
his own life.
was always singing at home and so close to all of us. Even
when he was going to the bathroom he would tell me first. I
lost my only son that night," Padma said.
to Padma, problems indicated in Chaturanga's horoscope had led
the family to conduct several thovils for him. "It was
just last week that we took him to Kataragama devale to make
an offering for him. They told me to keep him away from the
house. Now I feel like he has been stolen from me," Padma
tributes to motherhood
with two generations of love
Mark Indika Samarasekara and Risidra Mendis
through nine months of
pregnancy and giving birth
to a baby is not an easy task. But the birth of a healthy baby girl
or boy is always a day of joy for the happy parents. However, it is
not very often that we hear the news of a mother giving birth to 17
children during her life time.
Wellassana Wellawaya come the stories of two mothers who gave birth
to 17 and 18 children each. This news, while cause for celebration,
has resulted in these two mothers being awarded 'Weera Matha' (Brave
Menika's house in Nugayaya Wellawaya is busy in the preparation of
the noon day meal. A large pot of rice together with two pots of
curry were seen cooking while Sudu Menika was in the process of
skinning a large jackfruit.
a room nearby little ones sit patiently on a rug eagerly awaiting
their noon meal.
the adjoining room are two infants fast asleep. Sudu Menika's
daughter acts as the infants' foster mother until the cooking is
done. Also the father and some other sons working in the chena were
seen taking rice from the same large pot on the fire.
Menika is the proud mother of 18 children out of which 10 girls and
five boys are her own children while three boys are adopted. Out of
the three boys one is a Tamil. Apart from three of the 18 children
the rest live with Sudu Menika now 89 years old and takes care of
Kulathunge Mudiyanselage Sudu Menika was born in 1915 at Welimada.
At the age of 13 or 14 as she fondly recalls Sudu Menika got married
in 1928. "Soon after marriage we lived in Welimada and then in
Bandarawela," said Sudu Menika.
Menika recalls her days in Bandarawela when the family had their own
vegetable plot. "My daughters pluck and bring home the fresh
vegetables. When the vegetables are laid out in the kitchen it
looked like a mini market," she explained.
to Sudu Menika, her husband was a contract worker. "After work
he used to bring home the necessary food items for daily
cooking," said Sudu Menika.
daughters were never sent to school. "They were given away in
marriage as soon as they reached the correct age. This was the
custom at that time," explained Sudu Menika who never taught
her sons how to write. "If boys learned to write they would
send love letters to girls. So I didn't teach them," says Sudu
Menika who herself was not taught to write by her parents.
we came across Podihamy, 58 years old. She lives in Uva Kuda Oya,
Wellawaya and she works in the paddy fields. Podihamy has 17
children - one child had died at a young age.
husband lives in Balasmulla. However, Podihamy with her nine sons
left Balsmulla to engage in paddy cultivation in Wellawaya.
Podihamy's eldest son got married at 18 and together with his wife
helps Podihamy with her cultivation.
those days life was not difficult as the prices of essential items
were not expensive. But today the cost of living is very high. Even
the soil at Kuda Oya had the nutrition for cultivation 20 years
ago," said Podihamy.
to Podihamy, during that time, in July and August there was no
drought in this area. "Even the jungles had papaw trees with
fruits," explained Podihamy.
to her, not only the earth but the mannerisms of people too have
changed in the country. "Women do not like to have children
these days," said Podihamy.
Menika and Podihamy both received the Wera Matha Award for their
contribution in looking after a large number of children. Meanwhile
mothers who lost their children in the armed forces were also
presented with bravery awards.
these women being presented with awards, there still remain a large
number of mothers who suffer in silence unknown to the outside
world. Encouraging and uplifting the lives of these women is the
responsibility of society. Hence presenting a 'Weera Matha Award' in
appreciation of their contribution towards society is not
of eating animal protein
protein is such a good
thing you may be wondering
whether you can eat too much and if
you do so what will happen.
certain nutrients such as water soluble vitamins (vitamin B-complex
and vitamin C) which can be consumed in fairly large quantities with
no adverse effects, over consumption of protein can be hazardous to
you eat too much of protein, a by-product of protein metabolism
called urea - Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) is formed in your liver and
excreted via the kidneys. The kidneys have to work overtime to
eliminate the excess urea that has accumulated in your blood. This
can lead to kidney damage, especially in older people whose kidneys
function less efficiently or in people with pre-existing kidney
you take in more protein than is needed, it is excreted because
protein is not stored. The way it is excreted through the body is
though the liver. The liver has to increase its activity because of
that increased work load and it changes that protein into urea (BUN)
- BUN goes to the kidneys which filter out this urea and kidneys
also filter out protein that is unprocessed. As a result of the
filtering of the urea and the protein, kidneys enlarge under this
high protein load that we eat (John McDaug-all MD, Natural Living
WBAI, New York, 26 March 1987).
addition to enlarging the kidneys the excess protein accumulated
inside the kidneys caused damage to the tubercles (the filtering
apparatus in the kidneys).
many people, this presents no real threat since we have much more
kidney tissue than we actually need. But if you have suffered kidney
damage due to diabetes or high blood pressure or if you have only
one functioning kidney as in patients who have accidental trauma to
one kidney; extra stress placed in the remaining kidney can severely
overtax it and eventually can lead to destruction of the remaining
kidney tissue. That is why doctors recommend a low protein diet for
patients with high BUN (blood urea) or high serum creatinine.
order to flush excess urea from our bodies we need to drink plenty
of water for the kidneys to filter the urea out of the blood stream.
Infants are especially at risk when they are fed high protein diets.
A large number of babies in Sri Lanka are receiving cow milk, which
has twice the protein content in human milk. An unrestricted amounts
of protein can be excessive, leading to hypernatraemic dehydration
which can lead to brain damage, shut down of the kidneys and death
within hours. (Hara Marano, The Problem With Proteins, New York,
from excess protein or protein loading can be dangerous to athletes.
Not only are these athletes losing large amounts of fluid from
perspiration, they also require water to filter the urea from blood.
For a marathon runner this can lead to serious heat stroke.
nitrogen by-product of protein metabolism is ammonia which builds up
in our instestinal tract and can cause cancer. Dr. Willard Visek of
University of illinuous Medical School says ammonia behaves like
chemicals that cause cancer or promotes its growth. It kills cells,
increase virus infections and increases the rate at which cells
divide and the incidence of cancer parallels the concentration of
ammonia (Hara Marano).
as it may seem another major problem associated with excess animal
protein is calcium deficiency. Another thing that happens when
kidneys begin to work overtime to rid the body of excess ureas is
that they also excrete large amounts of minerals, the most important
of which is calcium. The high concentration of calcium mixed with
uric acid in the kidneys form kidney stones and the body becomes
depleted of calcium and draws it out of the bones rendering them
weak - the end result can be osteoporosis. Today, osteoporosis among
the middle aged and elderly, especially in women is very common and
people are terrified by the thought of getting shortened in stature,
stooped and crippled, and osteoporosis in many cases is due to
excessive consumption of animal protein. Fortunately for women milk
is not the only source of calcium. Natural vegetable sources that
are very good suppliers of calcium include leafy vegetables,
cauliflower, sesame seeds, soy beans, fresh and dried fruit and sea
you eat a vegetarian diet it is unlikely that you will be taking an
excessive amount of protein unless you eat a large amount of
legumes. Even if you do take a vegetarian diet which is high in
protein you will be taking a diet high in fibre which will cleanse
your intestines from ammonia buildup. Vegetable proteins are easily
digested and will provide you with calcium that you actually use.
protein on the other hand is where the problems of excess protein
begin. A typical American diet includes eggs and bacon in the
morning, hamburger or meat sandwich with a glass of milk at lunch
and meat dishes for dinner, can add up to over 200 grams of protein.
This means massive amounts of urea and ammonia, fat, drugs and
pesticides residue and very little fibre (as most wheat products are
refined while meat, dairy products and eggs have little or no fibre).
result of above type of diet can result in major diseases such as
coronary heart disease, colon and prostatic cancer, obesity
osteoporosis, kidney and liver damage.
of animal protein
so-called complete protein found in meat, poultry, fish eggs and
milk can be associated with saturated fat, cholesterol, nitrates,
hormones, pesticides herbicides residues, antibiotics, preservatives
and countless additives. So animal protein can be worse for you than
individual in the US eats about 200 pounds of red meat, 50 pounds of
chicken or turkey, 10 pounds of assorted fish, 300 eggs and 250
pounds of various dairy products a year. That is some feast!
nutritionist, Dr. David Kritchevsky says the best correlation with
heart disease is animal protein. He found that animal sources
contributed to more cases of arthritis than vegetables sources (Mara
Marano The Problem With Protein, New York, March 5, 1979, 52). Cross
cultural studies have also shown that there is a greater incidence
of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer among people consuming
diets high in animal protein and fat (Osmo Turpeinen MD, Circulation
59, NO. 1 January 1979; Margaret A Howell, Journai Of Choronic
Disease 28, 1976, 67-80).
also indicates a strong positive correlation between dietary protein
and other cancers - breast, prostrate pancreases, uterus, bowel and
kidney says Collin Campbell, a Professor of Cornel University's
Science Department (Susan Lang Diet And Disease, Food Monitor,
May/June 1983, 24).
too suffers when bombarded with lots of protein. The high saturated
fat content of animal products makes them hard to digest and these
food items settle in the stomach for about seven hours.
is possible that food colour antibiotics and the hormones in animal
products could contribute to causation of cancer. These ingredients
are introduced into livestock at breeding phase. There are over 500
chemicals allowed by the US government as additives.
starters, the livestock and dairy cows consume large amounts of
chemically treated feed and one of these is DDT which is an
insecticide. The crops absorb small amounts of DDT; livestock eat
the crops and concentrate the chemical and we eat livestock, DDT and
all. A pound of beef may contain significant DDT residues and DDT
may also be passed on in cow milk. The DDT we ingest in our burgers
and shakes are in turn stored in our body fat where it sits until we
come under stress. DDT can be passed on to babies through mothers
two antioxidants BHT are added to livestock feed to keep the fat in
the feed from going rancid, to make feed handling and shipping
easier and ultimately to improve the taste in the meal once animals
food additive sodium nitrate used as colour fixative in most
processed meats, hot dogs, cured meats, bacon meat spreads, sausages
and ham is another ingredient detrimental to health. When eaten,
nitrates form substances in the stomach called nitrosamines which
are potential cancer causing. Although bacon producers add vitamin C
to bacon to lessen the cancer threat, two-thirds of vitamin C is
destroyed during cooking.
are used to keep animals disease free and promote rapid weight gain
in some livestock and the animals pass these drugs on to humans who
eat their flesh. Humans who are allergic to these antibiotics like
Penicillin may be aggravating their allergies by knowingly eating
meat treated with such drugs.
Handbook by Gary Null
- Dr. D.P. Athukorale
tribute to those who changed lives...
De Saram is a music teacher by
profession. Having taught
music at Royal College, she still maintains a royal touch.
When The Sunday Leader visited her home we walked in listening to
her playing the piano and two young boys practicing their flutes.
from being involved in music, she is also very much involved in
arts, painting and sculpting. Her home is adorned with many of her
paintings, sculptures and sketches. Sketching she says is something
she has been doing all her life.
out the best
is a lady who wants to give something to society and her desire is
to bring to light the people and their stories that have made a
difference in the country. Therefore she wants to begin with the
people in the arts field. She strongly believes that both known and
unknown people, especially what they did for the country deserve to
be brought to light and appreciated by the older and specially the
to The Sunday Leader she explained that there are innumerable people
who have in their own way introduced something into this country
that have caused a positive difference. "The younger generation
is not aware about them," she said. So her aspiration is to
find out about them, to have a sketch of them and write a little
about their work and how they made a difference.
want to find out about people in the 20th Century because we know
about the great kings in history but very little of the recent
achievements by people of our time," she said.
De Saram noted that she is interested in people who have made a
difference in the country through dedication, blood, toil and sweat.
She considers that people who have money can afford to do a lot for
society but there are people who want to do or did something merely
to uplift the lives of the others and this is remarkable she said.
"They are not interested in publicity or money," she
a few people she has in mind the names of George Keyt, Lionel Wendt
and Lester James Peries were revealed. "I am in the arts field
and I know of many people who are involved in this field. So I can
find out about them as well," she noted.
the book based on the arts people is completed, she hopes to look
into the people in other fields such as medicine, science and so
forth. Sita said that a person does not have to be popular just as
long as they have really made a positive change for their relevant
subject or to society.
asked how she does her research she said that it is mainly by
talking to people and finding out what they know about others and
what they have done. She also pointed out that she has to be careful
and have an open mind because people may have their own preferences.
list I have already is wide - there are so many names and this is
only from one field," she said.
sketch of R. L. Brohier was on her table and Sita said that many of
the younger people do not know about him. "He was a surveyor
and he was able to find many places and write books about them. In
his own way he has given something to society and what he did should
be made known to the people today," added de Saram.
much as she is interested in finding out about such people, she is
also interested in finding out about people who have been involved
in "Tamil and Sinhala literature, poetry and music," she
said adding that Martin Wickremasinghe is on her list.
out about Tamil writers at the moment is a bit difficult," she
said because she does not know anybody who can help but still she
has an open mind and welcomes any help.
more about her idea of creating such a book she said that she was
inspired to make this after seeing a book in the United States.
"A photographer had made the book about people who have made a
difference to the country and he took a photograph of each person.
But I want to have a sketch of them and some details about their
work," said Sita. "There are many people involved in
archaeology here and their work deserves to be known to the
others," she explained.
is a discovery for me, because apart from finding out about the
people, I have come across others who have done a lot of work which
deserves to be appreciated by us and especially made known to the
younger generation," she said.
on three wheelers
in this country is viewed in
a different light by a small section of people in Fort.
to earn their daily hires due to the high cost of petrol, three
wheeler drivers in Maliban Street, Fort now spend their afternoons
discussing politics amongst themselves as a daily ritual.
many three wheeler drivers in the country today criticise the
government due to the high cost of living and the high cost of fuel,
these people however, discuss politics with a difference.
we are suffering due to the high cost of living, we pass our
afternoons discussing politics with a 'positive' attitude. We hardly
get any hires as people prefer travelling in buses nowadays. We
voted for this government, having many high hopes but we are sad to
say that they are no better. Instead of bringing down prices, they
broke a record by increasing the prices of items within a period of
five months," said three wheeler driver M. H. Susil.
nobody listens to our plight anymore, we came up with a new plan -
to discuss politics in this country in a comical way," Susil
the audience, we take our seats inside their trishaws, to gear up
for the 'comic show,' which we are going to witness.
soon as the government came into power, they came with a Rata Perata
manifesto. Although we are glad that they had such extraordinary
thinking powers to come up with such a brilliant idea, we are sad to
say that the country is not moving ahead, no matter how hard they
try. The country's accelerators seem to have stopped working and the
foot seems to have got stuck on the brakes. But we hope that these
extraordinary men governing this country fix the country's
accelerators soon as the country is otherwise going to go in the
dumps," Susil said.
to W. K. A. Wipulasena, the hires that they get are like meters.
Prices of their hires seem to be 'going up' and then 'going down.'
"This is good as this way we do not have to spend to have
meters fixed in our three wheelers. We are glad to say we have
invisible and automatic meters," Wipulasena said.
questioned about the fights amongst politicians in parliament, to
this Susil reacts immediately saying that this proved how powerful
our politicians really are.
should be proud that we have such muscular men in parliament who
show their talents in boxing in a very good way. It also shows how
concerned our politicians are, to lose their temper and have
arguments - because this is all done for the betterment of the
country. Internationally our politicians become named as world class
wrestlers, which is all good and we hope that by displaying their
talents, the foreigners will be impressed and release the aid money
as soon as possible," Susil said adding that it would also do
us good if one of these politicians could take part in boxing at the
Olympics as this way, the country is sure of winning a medal.
questioned about the meals available for politicians in parliament
at only Rs. 16, Susil responds saying that this was good as at least
there was one place in the country that five star hotel meals were
available at Rs. 16. "We have to pay at least Rs. 150 for our
meals but we are glad that the politicians are getting it so cheap.
They work hard and after all we have voted for them to have cheaper
meals than the public and besides they need all the nourishment they
can get to engage in those fights," Susil said.
added that today, the concept of voting in this country was that the
public casts their votes for a group of men who can show their
talents in lying, forget the people who voted for them, travel in
luxury cars although before the elections they were travelling in
three wheelers, to have massive houses and to have meals at a much
cheaper rate while the voters have their cost of living increased -
from three wheelers they have to take a turn towards bus depots and
paying Rs. 100 to Rs.150 for meals.
is good as this shows how unique and different politics is in this
country. No wonder we have excessive politicians in this country
today," Susil said.
the law enforcement authorities in this country, Wipulasena shares
with us one of his 'memorable' encounters with the cops.
day I was driving my three wheeler looking for hires when I saw a
man lying on the road with a broken leg. I rushed him to the
hospital and later took him to the Maradana police station to have
the matter reported as this accident was a 'hit and run' case.
Instead of writing his statement the police looked at me and
remanded me immediately. I was in such a state of shock that I was
dazed. This incident just proves how fast the law acts in this
country - only at that time they had arrested the wrong guy. I have
never helped any other man in my life ever again because if I do, I
know I am sure to get a free stay inside the police cell,"
regard to the skyrocketing prices, G. R. Gnanadass responds,
"this is good because even before other countries can increase
the prices of goods we have already increased our prices. It just
shows how fast and ahead we are from the other countries,"
the discussions come to an end, Susil adds that they did not blame
any government in particular as all governments are the same.
"When we look at politics in this country in a positive manner,
we know that the future in this country is fantastic," they all
snatch thieves, rapists and fat with karate
is the sure way. It is the short cut and it has all the perks, for
you do not have to starve yourself to stay slim," says Lekha
Siriwardene, acclaimed karateka and mother of two. "I have been
a karateka for 10 years and only stopped during the time I was
pregnant. It has not only kept me in good shape but given me a
tremendous sense of well being," pointed out Siriwardene.
Siriwardene and her spouse, the branch chief of Kyokushin karate in
Sri Lanka, Shehan Nanda Siriwardene have devoted their days and
nights to training men and women in karate. They vouch for the
benefits that karate brings to a man or woman.
this, karate will not only fight off the fat, it will instill in you
the will to go on and never give up," said Siriwardene.
hear of women being raped and abused today and Lekha Siriwardene
says that there is no way that a karateka can be harmed in any way.
"I read about men snatching necklaces off women and I think to
myself, if these women knew some of the good kicks of karate and
experience the mental strength and confidence that karate instills
in them, then there is no way that snatch thieves and rapists can
have the confidence they have today when they approach women,"
are many kicks in karate and I think karate is the ideal way to kick
off the excess fat especially below the waist because one has to
keep on lifting the legs for those powerful kicks. Every kick in
karate exercises the region below the waist. The waist twists with
every kick and the fat in the stomach and the back begin to melt
away," said Siriwardene.
about the rounders kick, Lekha Siriwardene said that this is an
overall kick that will kick off fat from the entire downward region.
"You will not believe how much this kick affects the fat that
is set in the back and the thighs. This kick is poisonous to the 'tyres'
in one's waist," analysed Lekha.
woman in karate moved on to speak about the back rounders kick and
the front role it plays in fighting fat. "The karate I practice
is Kyokushin karate and it is not easy. But with continuous practice
and training life gets better. The training makes you feel much
better after a session," she said.
said that karate and dieting do not go hand in hand. "Karate
calls for strenuous practice and to be active and strong one must
take a balanced diet. In aerobics one can be on a slimming diet and
go on with the aerobics. But in karate there can be no starvation.
It is simple - eat and burn it off and I have a terrible weakness
for chocolates," she revealed.
went on to speak of the benefits of the punching bag. "Once the
initial training is over, the aspiring karateka must move on to her
punching bag. Besides it is an amazing way of losing fat especially
from the back and the arms. A karateka does not concentrate on
losing weight. All she will want is to improve her training and
unknown to her, the fat will shed off," she said.
karate training will instill self confidence. It will help build up
the strength of character and give a thorough training to the mind.
Karate is not about fighting. It is about the training, about the
self confidence and about the strength. There will be no karateka
who will take the back seat, no karateka who will be nervous and no
karateka who will run back. This is the strength that karate will
bring. It will make you a perfect and complete human being -
physically and mentally," said Lekha Siriwardene from her home
in Dutugamunu Street, Kohuwala.