It was hard to see those sparkling eyes
closed. It was even harder
to see the tears around. As Srimani Athulathmudali lay in the
hallway of her home at Flower Terrace, I expected her to smile
softly as she often does and walk majestically, yet with a
common touch. ......
- up, up and away
Lotus - a budding problem
time to remember
A great strength
By Ranee Mohamed
It was hard to see those sparkling eyes
closed. It was even harder
to see the tears around. As Srimani Athulathmudali lay in the
hallway of her home at Flower Terrace, I expected her to smile
softly as she often does and walk majestically, yet with a
But there she lay today, in a turquoise
blue saree, holding a few white lilies and red roses at her
feet. Lilies for her purity and roses for the love she showed
us all, her family and friends alike. Today she did not smile.
She did not sit perched on the edge of a chair and listen carefully
- she just lay there as the tears flowed.
Srimani de Saram, who married Lalith
Athulathmudali hit the headlines in her own special, gentle way -
her education, her style and her beauty did not let her remain
hidden from the public eye.
As the wife of the late Minister of
National Security, Lalith Athulathmudali, Srimani remained the
cherished wife and loving mother. She took life's trauma and was
both a mother and a father to little Serala after Lalith
Athulathmudali was killed on April 23, 1993.
"I cannot believe that she is
dead. She looks like she is sleeping," said a close friend who
found it hard to control the tears. "She was an angel, a
perfect woman, who cared for everyone. I have never in all my life
seen her lose her temper or her cool," she said.
Nilanthi Nonis, a schoolmate of Srimani
said that politics never made Srimani 'lose her head.'
"When I was the marketing manager
for a foreign company, I went to see Srimani with my foreign lady
boss. We were among the public as it was public day. The moment
Srimani saw me, she waved at me and said hello and asked me into her
husband's study and helped me. We were in school together, but I
thought being in that top position she will not recognise me or may
ignore me. The way she treated me on that day made me cry,"
said Nilanthi Nonis, crying today for Srimani Athulathmudali.
It is strange how our past makes us so
happy and unhappy too - happy for what it was and unhappy for what
we have lost. And that is just the way with Srimani Athulathmudali
"She was so full of fun and such a
jolly person," recalls her friends from her school, Ladies
College, Colombo 7. They recalled the time when she was a school
girl, they remembered her songs and her 'always ready for fun'
attitude to life as a schoolgirl.
But sometimes, life makes us cry, and
for Srimani there were many tears yet despite the tears, she lived
on fighting life with the determination to go on.
Director, Technique International,
Gwendoline Kuhatheva who was very close to Srimani Athulathmudali
from the time they were in school together said that she will always
remember Srimani as the friendly, energetic and helpful person that
'I will come'
"If you invited her for a function
she would simply say 'I will come,' if she could not come she would
always telephone and apologise. She was my first chief guest and she
will always be special to me," said Kuhatheva. "She had so
much faith and it showed on her face," she said.
"She could sing, be sympathetic
and cope with life too. After the death of her husband, she
coped," recalls Kuhatheva who went on to say that Srimani
Athulathmudali was always helping people. "I remember at a time
when she was not in politics too, she sent me three girls from Mount
Lavinia to train them in hair dressing. She was giving these poor
girls a scholarship. Srimani never stopped helping people," she
Srimani Athulathmudali contested the
Colombo District at the August 1994 parliamentary elections and was
appointed Transport, Environment and Women's Affairs Minister. She
contested as the DUNF (Lalith faction) leader and succeeded in
polling over 150,000 preferences in the heavily contested Colombo
Years later she broke away from the PA
over differences with the top SLFP leadership.
Qualities of leadership
Srimani Athulathmudali showed her
qualities of leadership early in life. At school she had been the
secretary of the Student Christian Movement and a member of the
college choir. A keen athlete, Srimani excelled in several events
and was also a founder member of the Soroptimists Club.
She has worked with Grants Advertising
and the Ceylon Hotels Corporation and thereafter joined UNCTAD in
Geneva. She married Lalith Athulathmudali in 1982 and was blessed
with Serala in 1983.
Srimani Athulathmudali will always be
remembered for her softness and strength of character, for her
warmth and determination to go on. She will always reign supreme as
a woman who achieved much, gave much and left us in sadness - much
more sadness that we would ever have imagined.
- up, up and away
reluctant to eat',Egg
By Dhananjani Silva
Come Christmas and new year
there is much activity going on - people are busy buying gifts,
clothes and food for celebrations. However, buying food is not a
luxury. It is essential.
Regrettably, the prices of food during
the season go higher and higher and eating during the season becomes
a grave problem for the ordinary man.
From one grocer to another they go,
from one item to another they search... they pause to think. 'How
can we afford to buy these things?' they ask themselves.
Does this scenario prevail only during
the season? Will this tension be gone along with Christmas and new
year? Amidst these queries The Sunday Leader features a few vendors
in a supermarket.
Ranga, the owner of an egg stall
grieves over the plight of egg sellers. We blame the egg sellers for
rising prices but Ranga pointed out that they have a story too.
"During the season the price of an egg has increased from about
Rs. 5.25 to 5.75 where as a brown egg has increased from about
Rs.5.50 to Rs.8. Also the price of a bottle of oil, which was Rs. 68
has now increased to Rs.78. Even the prices of coconuts are on the
rise," he explained. He said that these price hikes are of
great disadvantage not only to the consumer but also for vendors
People come, they ask the prices of
goods but they are reluctant to buy anything as they cannot afford
the prices, says Ranga.
"We hope that the prices will
begin to drop after the season, but that seems unlikely. How are we
to survive? How will our families live?" he asks.
Dedunu, a grocer does not differ from
the rest of the shop owners as she too had a similar story to tell.
"Prices began to increase from Ramazan season. During that time
we thought the prices will go down when Ramazan is over, but now it
has got even worse," she said.
Dedunu went on to say that when
compared to last year, there is a drastic increase in the prices of
items such as eggs, oil and coconuts this year.
"People come and ask the price but
they hardly buy anything. Earlier towards this time of the day we
have earned much. But as you see, we now happen to just sit and
spend hours and hours earning nothing. Almost all the vendors in
general are facing this situation," she lamented.
"The government says that the
prices were reduced with the budget, but we are compelled to buy
from the Pettah market which offers no such price reductions.
Instead they tell that they are selling the old stocks. So even the
consumers question us, they come and ask us for the price
reductions." she complained hoping that prices will be
"normal" after the season is over.
Speaking about the prices of
vegetables, the vendors were of the view that although the prices of
some vegetables are high it has no connection with the festive
season. "Usually during this time of the year there is a
shortage in some vegetables due to rain. For example; drumsticks,
tomatoes and lemon," said Premaratne, a vegetable seller.
"Due to the shortage they come from various other parts of the
island and this results in prices going up. After January everything
will be normal, says Premaratne who too complained that there are
instances where he had thrown vegetables due to the decrease in the
The Sunday Leader also spoke to some of
the consumers to get their opinion on the food prices during the
festive season. In their own words, eating during the season is
'trauma' for them.
"Just think, can we eat anything
else everyday instead of rice?" asks Nandani, a shopper
"What we have to buy we buy even if it is expensive. We have no
other alternative," she said.
Piyasena is another consumer who was of
the view that nothing is reasonable. "Tell me what is
reasonable?" he queried. "Can we survive without eating
just because it is the season?" he complains. "Even during
the rest of the year the prices of food are really expensive and the
season only worsens the matter," he scoffs.
Meanwhile Milani, a housewife went on
to say that since the prices of food are expensive during the season
they have to cut down on other expenses. "Eating has become an
agony but it is a must. So even with difficulty we somehow manage to
buy what is essential like rice, vegetables and coconuts - but
lesser quantities. What is the meaning of this life? It is suffering
and anguish. We Sri Lankans deserve a better life," she said.
By Marianne David
The Gangchen Lama - also
known as the Healing Lama
- was here in Sri Lanka last week. A charismatic and energy filled
monk, the Gangchen Lama was in his element, healing, at the Medicina
Alernativa World Congress.
Born in Western Tibet in 1941, the
Gangchen Lama was recognised as a reincarnate lama healer at a very
early age and enthroned at Gangchen Choepeling monastery at the age
of five. When he reached the age of 12, he received the 'Kachen'
degree - usually conferred after 20 years of study.
Speaking at the 42nd Medicina
Alternativa World Congress, the Lama said, "This is the time we
have to deeply reflect on our contributions and how we, as a
community, will address the plight of so many people around this
planet, both in the developed and developing countries. We must look
for new, more effective and lasting solutions so that we improve
human and natural environments we live in."
The Gangchen Lama is deeply committed
to world peace and his activities revolve around the achievement of
A doctor in Buddhist philosophy and
holistic medicine, the Healing Lama founded the Lama Gangchen World
Peace Foundation (LGWPF) and was also an initiator of the United
Nations Spiritual Forum for World Peace.
"We have learned that we cannot
rely on material means to find solutions to human problems. Of
course, material means are important, and in some cases,
indispensable. However, they will never become sufficient to address
the deep-rooted issues. We have to look for solutions that will work
everywhere, including the poorest and most remote areas in the
world," the Lama said.
The holder of an ancient and unbroken
lineage of Tantric Masters dating from the time of Shakyamuni
Buddha, the Gangchen Lama's 'Ngalso Tantric Selfhealing' is based on
the Buddha's teaching.
In 1994, he founded Peace Radio 'La
Radio della Pace' and Lama Gangchen Peace Publications, in order to
broadcast and spread positive information about inner and world
peace education, self-healing, self-responsibility and
self-morality; natural therapies, environmental awareness and
According to the Lama, people are
totally interdependent and interconnected in physical and spiritual
ways, which poses a challenge when some people enjoy decent health
when a majority does not; when we have a few countries at peace
while many others suffer from great conflict; when a minority has
the means to address their everyday needs while more than half of
the people do not even have access to water and sanitation; and when
the market economy seems to dictate the fate of humanity on both
material and spiritual fronts.
He believes that human interdependence
is present everywhere and is a major reason for thinking in holistic
and all-embracing ways, and that human wellness in the physical body
will be short-lived if it does not include economic and spiritual
"There are many ways oneself or a
given society could become ill. Spiritual diseases are spreading all
over the world when we destroy peace, augment suffering, practice
negativity, expand our personal and social ego, etc. The diseases of
the spirit are known to manifest in illness of our bodies and minds
and are clearly essential to the state of being now and in the
future, even including future lives. These diseases go beyond our
immediate material existence and must be addressed in special
ways," he said.
The Gangchen Lama has worked as a
reincarnate lama healer among the Tibetan communities in Nepal,
India and Sikkim, during which time he saved the lives of many
people and was named private physician to the royal family.
In 1981, he established his first
European centre, Karuna Choetsok in Lesbos, Greece, where he also
planted a Bo tree in the 'Buddha Garden.'
Since 1982 he has travelled
extensively, both healing and teaching in many countries around the
world such as Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Holland,
Belgium, France, England, Ireland, USA, Brazil, Chile, Argentina,
Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India,
Mongolia, China, Tibet, Russia, and Buriyatia.
The Gangchen Lama has led many
pilgrimages to some of the most important holy places of Buddhist
tradition, and has also visited many holy sites in Europe.
"As we should not separate mind
and body, we should also not separate mind, body and spirit. Our
spiritual reality is at the roots of all we do in our lives,
including our professions and daily practices. It is not possible to
heal or be healthy if we are disconnected from the laws of
nature," he said.
The Lama asserted that every aspect of
human destiny cannot be left to governments and that spiritual
leaders should also be heard and respected.
Explaining further he said,
"Material welfare is only one aspect of our lives. Going only
for material welfare will result in societies that might be
materially rich but will, in the end, be spiritually poor. Human
spirit is the natural transformational factor of material
By Shezna Shums
Car racing is a sport that keeps the
specta-tors on edge with
excitement and anxiety -
with the talent of the
drivers of these sport cars causing hearts to race in turn.
Racing has been a sport in Sri Lanka
for a very long time and has been held in various parts of the
country such as Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya, Katukurunda, Pannala
Being a sport, the order of the day
would be to compete and enjoy the game. The fun and happiness is
both for the competitors and spectators and racing does become fun
when the rules and regulations of the sport are adhered to.
However, when competitors drive
recklessly, with no consideration for the safety of other drivers,
nor respecting the rules and regulations of the sport, it simply
loses its value in terms of entertainment and becomes a dangerous
'playing around' with life. In sports , fairplay is fundamental,
this is true of racing as it is for any other sport.
Spectators say that this is what
happened at last Sunday's Talduwa Rally Cross, where the alleged
reckless driving of one competitor compelled other competitors to
even write to the sports and youth affairs minister, that a full
inquiry be carried out into this case. The Sri Lanka Association of
Racing Drivers is carrying out an investigation into the matter.
Last Sunday at the Talduwa Rally Cross
second event of the Mazda/Lazer Class 1500 CC, reckless driving
resulted in a competitor's car being knocked in the rear and being
airborne for a while before it came crashing down.
The driver is yet under medical
observation. He had a cut in his arm, suffered an injury to one eye
and has bruises, while his car has been condemned and his helmet
squashed so much, that now only his fist can fit into it.
In a letter written to the Sports and
Youth Affairs Minister, Jeewan Kumaratunga a Racing Car Driver,
Dilshard Hamdoon explains that when his vehicle was negotiating the
third corner of competition, another competitor who was behind him,
suddenly knocked the rear of his vehicle. Hamdoon's car still has
paint marks of this competitor's car, he alleges.
"Owing to the sudden impact, I
lost total control of my car and both the vehicle and I were thrown
out of track and having hit an embankment, the car toppled,"
Car a wreck
The car is wreck and the driver's seat
is disjoined; however the driver was saved because of the safety
belts and protective gear.
He had also brought this incident to
the prompt notice of the Chairman, Organising Committee, Richard De
Zoysa and the clerk of the course, Anthony Tranchell.
Furthermore, Hamdoon notes that even
after being involved in the racing scene for such a long time, he
fails to understand how a corner martial could turn a blind eye to
specifics, especially when the very life of a competitor is under
threat due to reckless driving.
Doctors have also informed Hamdoon that
his life was in danger due to the impact.
What Hamdoon insists on is that a panel
of professionals carry
out an impartial inquiry into this incident. He said that the
incident may have cost him his life or serious injuries. He says
that his car is a wreck and pointed out that such incidents not only
endangers the competitors but also the spectators.
Hamdoon also accuses a competitor of
intentionally banging on his car.
In Hamdoon's letter to the Sports and
Youth Affairs Minister it is noted that this particular competitor
was involved in four similar disruptive incidents on the same day in
question with other competitors - H. A. U. Perera, D. Jayasinghe and
Emphasising further, he said that if
such reckless drivers are allowed to continue in this manner on the
racing tracks, it will have a devastating impact on the sport, which
will eventually discourage many professional competitors from
participating in future meets.
Stressing that this matter should not
be swept under the carpet he warns that another incident of this
nature in the future may result in more tragic results.
Hamdoon stresses that if reckless
drivers are allowed to participate in races in the future, this
would certainly be a positive threat to the image and good name of
the sport and the spectators.
Cancer is currently one of the leading
causes of death in Sri Lanka.
In USA, cancer is the second leading cause of death and more than
1500 people die of cancer every day in that country. The top four
cancers in USA are lung, colorectal, breast and prostrate cancer.
Cancer actually consists of many
diseases and these differ in the types of cells affected and
different factors contribute to cancer development depending on the
cancer itself. For example; factors leading to skin cancer differ
from those leading to breast cancer. Similarly treatment of
different types of cancer often differ.
Cancer essentially represents abnormal
and uncontrollable division of cells. If untreated or if not
treatable, cancer leads to death. Most cancers take the form of
tumours (spontaneous new tissue growth that serves no physiological
A tumour can be benign (innocent) such
as a wart and malignant like most of lung cancers. The term
malignant tumour and malignant neoplasm are synonymous with cancer.
Benign tumours are made up of cells
similar to the surrounding normal cells and are usually enclosed in
a membrane that prevents them from penetrating other tissues. A
common example is fibroadenoma of the breast. Benign tumours are
dangerous if their physical presence interfres with normal function.
Thus benign brain tumours sometimes can cause illnesses and death if
it blocks blood flow to the brain.
A few cancers such as Leukaemia, a form
of cancer found in white blood cells do not produce a mass but are
still malignant in view of rapid and inappropriate growth and are
classified as a form of cancer.
Both genetic and lifestyles are potent
forces that influence the risk of development of cancer. Certain
cancers such as breast and colon cancer tend to occur in some
families more than others. Thus persons in high risk families are
said to be genetically predisposed to certain types of cancers. Only
five to 10 percent of all cancers can be explained by inheriting a
Thus, lifestyle is also a critical
factor in most forms of cancer as evidenced by the variation in
cancer rates from country to country. In fact diet is likely to
account for more than 40% of all cancers. Vegetarians are less prone
to bowel, prostrate and breast cancer compared to meat eaters.
This is the stage in the process of
cancer development that begins with alterations in DNA, the genetic
material of the cell. This may cause the cell to no longer respond
to normal physiological control surrounding the cells. Alteration of
DNA can occur within a few minutes to days. Among the factors that
initiate cancer development are radiant energy, certain chemical
agents and biological agents. In addition some metabolites that
occur in the body can contribute to harmful substances. For example
certain products of liver metabolism can cause cancer.
There are certain tumour genes called
tumour suppressors which may step in to prevent the abnormal growth,
slowing cell tumour. However, if mutations cause the tumour
suppressors to fail, the block against cancer development fails.
During this stage in the cancer
process, cell division increases, decreasing the time available for
repair enzymes to act on altered DNA to develop and grow. Anything
that increases the rate of cell division decreases the chances that
repair enzymes and can no longer delete the changes in the DNA.
Compounds that increase cell division
are oestrogens, alcohol and probably high intake of dietary fat.
Bacterial infections in the stomach are also suspected agents such
as Helicobacter pylori.
Studies in experimental animals have
revealed that some substances can inhibit this promotion stage.
Compounds present in cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic and
citrus fruits as well as vitamins A, vitamin D and calcium are
thought to do so. Cancer experts agree that a diet rich in fruits
and vegetables is a key cancer preventive measure.
Diet and cancer
Cancer quackery aside a nutritious diet
as well as other factors related to lifestyle can reduce the risk of
cancer initiation and promotion. Some food constituents may
contribute to cancer development whereas others have a protective
Obesity promotes cancer. In one study,
people with the highest calorie intake had a 70% risk of getting
colon cancer than the control group. When animals are fed diets high
in fat or total energy they tend to experience more cancers
especially in the colon and breast.
In USA, the National Cancer Institute
(NCI) believes that there is a sufficient link between dietary fat
and cancer to encourage to reduce the fat intake. It recommends
initially decreasing the dietary fat to about 30% or less of total
calories if the person is at a high risk of cancer.
Many nutrients may have cancer
inhibitory properties. Those anticarcinogens include antioxidants,
certain phytochemicals and dietary fibre.
The antioxidant activity of vitamin C
and vitamin E prevent formation of nitrosamines in the
gastrointestinal tract thus preventing formation of potent
carcinogens. Vitamin E also protects unsaturated fatty acids from
damage by free radicals. Overall carotenoids vitamin E, vitamin C
and Selenium function as or contribute to antioxidant system in the
body. These antioxidant systems help to prevent the alteration of
DNA by electron seeking compounds.
In addition, phytochemicals from fruits
and even tea block cancer development in some cases. Numerous
studies suggest fruits and vegetable foods are normally rich in
carotenoids and vitamin plus dietary fibre and vitamin E. Adequate
vitamin D intake is suspected of reducing breast, colon and
A diet that follows the Food Guide
Pyramid, so that the fruits, vegetables, whole grain, low-fat and
non fat dairy products and some plant oils are eaten daily is a rich
source of anticarinogens.
It is likely that all of these foods
have a 'cocktail' effect in that no one food is likely to prevent
Insoluble fibre decreases transit time
so that the stool is in contact with the colon wall for a shorter
period of time thus reducing contact with carcinogens.
Soluble fibre may bind bile acids and
may thus block some recycling of these by the body. Bile acids are
believed to contribute to cancer risk by irritating the colon wall,
in turn increasing cell divisions. In addition dietary fibre
especially the insoluble fibre may increase binding and excretion of
sex hormones testosterone and the oestrogen from within the
Some studies show that calcium
decreases the growth of cells in the colon; therefore it probably
decreases the risk of genetically altered cells developing into
cancer. Calcium may also bind free fatty acids and bile in the
colon; so they are less apt to interact with cells localised there
and induce cancer.
So start by making sure that your diet
is moderate in energy and fat and that you consume many fruits and
vegetables, whole grain, beans, some fish and low fat or non fat
milk products. In addition, remain physically active, avoid obesity,
stop smoking completely, limit intake of animal fat and saturated,
smoked and nitrate-cured foods.
Contemporary Nutrition by Gordon M. Wardlaw.
- Dr. D. P. Athukorale
Lotus - a budding problem
manel plant growing from leaves, Bangkok Lotus and Lotus
By Risidra Mendis
Will the introduction of a foreign Lotus
to the market result in the
local Lotus losing its
value and place in the country? This is the question asked by
environmentalists and nature lovers who have noticed a steady growth
and demand for foreign Lotus and water lilies in the country.
Bangkok Lotus and Water Lilies are sold
from Rs. 500 upwards by plant sellers. However, the question as to
how these plants were brought into the country still remains a
According to the Plant Protection Act (PPA)
and the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO), an import
permit is needed to bring in any aquatic plant (including Water
Lilies and Lotus) to the country.
According to the National Plant
Quarantine Service (NPQS) leaflet No. 1, it is illegal to bring any
aquatic plant into the country
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, a high
ranking official from the Seed Certification and Plant Protection (SCPP)
section, Agriculture Department (AD), said import permits for
aquatic plants have not been issued by the NPQS or the SCPP.
"Therefore it is illegal for foreign Lotus and Water Lilies to
be sold in the market," says the AD official.
According to the official, plant
research stations are allowed to import these plants for research
purposes only. Prior to November 1 it was the NPQS that issued
import permits for plants. At present it is the SCPP that issues the
"We implement these strict laws to
safeguard our valuable local plants. There have been cases in the
past where due to the introduction of aquatic plants to the country
many of our natural plants have been destroyed.
"A good example is the water
hyacinth brought from India over 50 years ago and the salvinia. Due
to its rapid growth the water hyacinth destroyed valuable vegetation
in many parts of the country and continues to be a menace," the
According to this official, if aquatic
plants are illegally brought into the country, it is up to the
Customs Department to detect them at Katunayake. The official added
that if their officers detect plant sellers selling foreign aquatic
plants without an import permit, they could confiscate the plants,
according to the PPA.
There are three types of local Water
Lilies in Sri Lanka. In Sinhala they are referred to as olu (white)
the manel (magenta with yellow in the middle) and the nelum (pink
and white colours).
"The manel is undoubtedly the most
popular among the local variety for its colour and because it blooms
from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. - almost the whole day. It is also the
national flower of Sri Lanka," says a water plant expert.
The foreign Water Lilies belong to the
Nymphaea family while the foreign Lotus belongs to the Nelumbo
According to the expert, around 20 to
30 varieties of foreign Water Lilies are sold in Sri Lanka - colours
include pink, white, dark pink, purple, red, light blue, dark blue,
yellow and magenta among others.
Varieties of foreign Lotuses with
colours such as white pink, and the white multi petals are also
available in the country. These Lotuses include day bloomers and
night bloomers. The night bloomers are the pink, white and magenta
and start blooming at 10 p.m. and close at 11 a.m. The day bloomers
include white, purple and white combination, white and pink
combination and the nil manel. They bloom from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"In comparison, the local manel is
in demand as opposed to the Bangkok Lilies. However, there are
people who buy the foreign lilies for their dark and attractive
colours. People who want to grow Water Lilies in pots have to buy
the Bangkok Lilies as most of the local plants cannot be grown in
pots, except for the manel. Local Lilies have more petals than the
foreign Lilies and are hardier than the Bangkok flowers," says
the water plant expert.
According to the plant expert, many of
the local varieties are not sold at plant sales.
Also speaking to The Sunday Leader,
former President, Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Horticultural Society,
Sunila Rajawasan said no foreign Lotus can be compared to the local
varieties. "I personally feel that the local varieties are much
prettier than the foreign ones. Our local Water Lilies are known as
siyapath, meaning that they have a100 petals. If you look at a pink
or white local Lotus and a Bangkok Lotus you will notice the
difference," says Rajawasan.
According to Rajawasan, local Lotuses
grow in colours of blue, pink, white and yellow and cannot be
compared to the foreign Lotus.
"Through personal experience I can
say that the foreign Lotus does not last as long as the local ones.
Just because a Lotus is foreign it does not mean that you should
embrace it. We must always think local," Rajawasan said.
Meanwhile, Landscape artist, Gayan
Abeysinghe said the need for foreign or local Lotus depends on the
client's requirement. "However, when doing garden layouts and
landscaping, I always recommend the local Lotus to my clients,"
According to Abeysinghe, as far as he
knows, most of the landscapers do not use foreign Lotus when
designing a garden. "I do not know what kind of adverse effects
the foreign Lotus has on the environment, but I feel we should
promote the local varieties. Why go for foreign varieties when we
have so many beautiful local varieties?" asks Abeysinghe.
cries when she laughs because it hurts."
time to remember
By Ranee Mohamed
This is the festive season
- a time of glitter and gifts.
But as we make merry, among us, there are thousands of people in
tears. Some are in want, some in heartbreak.
"Help me to save my
daughter," pleads the singer who has a doctorate in music,
five year old daughter, Tharushi Geethika Divyangani Ratnayake has
been afflicted with a tumour in the brain and after surgery, her
eyelid dropped as a nerve had been damaged during the surgery.
Today, this little girl cannot see. "She cries when she laughs
because she says the cuts hurt. I wish there was something we can do
for our eldest girl," says Shiran and Lakmali Ratnayake hugging
their two little daughters.
There are many things that this couple
want to give their children but they do not have the means to do so.
Shiran Ratnayake has no job. He sings in hotels during the evenings
and brings the money home to give his children a square meal. They
live in house no. 38 Mallikarama Road, Ratmalana, down the road by
the side of the Maliban biscuit factory in Ratmalana. It is an abode
given to them by a sympathiser in England.
Help the helpless
As we shop around for toys and goodies,
our thoughts ought to go out to children in want, children who cry
out for milk and food and children who cry out in pain, like little
Tharushi and Yoshita. As human beings we ought to be able to feel
the pain and the heartbreak of parents like Shiran and Lakmali who
are helpless yet continue to scramble in their search for medical
treatment, food and comfort for their innocent offspring.
Medication for little Tharushi costs
over Rs. 800. Given half a teaspoon to prevent convulsions, this
medication along with eye drops are very important to the Ratnayakes.
But however important it may be - they need to have the money to buy
of nine on the streets...
It is night time in December - beside the Arpico supermall in Dehiwala sits a
woman with her young ones. She is young Shanthi with her nine
children. They are here at night because they are frightened of the
authorities who may take the children away.
"I cannot let that happen because
I love them so much. My husband tries to sell balloons and bring
money home to feed them, but as you know with today's cost of living
how can one live by selling balloons alone," asks Shanthi.
No gifts, no goodies
The children cling on to their mother
and she hugs them close in turn. The cold December winds and the
lights in the city streets all tell them that it is a time for gifts
and goodies, but not for them. They are just for them to see.
"I try to collect money to- buy
some food for the night. Sometimes we buy one packet of rice and
sometimes two," said Shanthi.
Then this young mother and her children
take a bus to their home at 41/12 Francisco Lane, Moratuwella,
Moratuwa. Their hut is situated down a little pathway between Enex
Board and Anura Cushions in Moratuwella.
The innocent children continued to look
on as we crossed the road on that glittering night.
As the days go by there will be more
glitter and more laughter. But laughter and happiness has a greater
meaning when it is shared - with the poor and the helpless, with
those in heartbreak and tears.