27th November, 2005  Volume 12, Issue 20

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    


Justice Ramanathan: A fairer view of life

By Kumudu Amarasingham

If ever anyone proved that a man of merit does not blow his own trumpet, it is Justice P. Ramanathan, recently awarded the prestigious.....


Review more articles

> Tears amidst the  raging waters...

> In the company of Beautiful people

> First man in the fashion scene is not bowing out.
> All about cholesterol

> Cosmetic surgery in Sri Lanka...

> Oscars of a different kind!

> Life is an ice cream (....Balder dash)

Justice Ramanathan: A fairer view of life

Justice P. Ramanathan

By Kumudu Amarasingham

If ever anyone proved that a man of merit does not blow his own trumpet, it is Justice P. Ramanathan, recently awarded the prestigious Deshamanya title by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Although he never engaged in active politics, given the fact that he comes from an extremely political background, Justice Ramanathan has nevertheless stood out often as a colourful and controversial figure in the country, particularly regarding his views on the system of justice and universal franchise. 

He was educated at St. Joseph's College, Colombo. A sportsman at heart, Justice Ramanathan to this day takes a keen interest in cricket and rugby. "I also played tennis, though never at school," he said.

A slow climb

A Barrister-at-Law and a Bencher of the Gray's Inn, he has served in the Attorney General's Department, functioned as a judge of the High Court, Judge of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

"Mine was not a political appointment, but rather a slow climb to the top," Ramanathan said. Though a member of the established 'Ramanathan' clan and a descendent of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, he chose never to take part in active politics. He is at present a trustee of the Ponnambalavaneswara Temple.

Asked what he thought of the legal system in Sri Lanka today, Ramanathan said it was very archaic and needed a complete overhaul. "For one thing the time between filing a complaint and the conclusion of an appeal is way too long," Ramanathan said, adding that the solution might be to appoint more judges and more courts, the latter at least in the provinces. "The system could be tried as a pilot project in some of the main towns such as Kandy and Galle and then moved to other areas," he said.

Most interesting case

The most interesting case he ever presided over, according to Ramanathan, was the Rev. Mathew Peiris case, which read like a Sherlock Holmes as he told it! The gist of the story is that the Reverend Mathew Peiris, in love with a woman, managed to kill both his own wife and his mistress' husband with an overdose of insulin tablets. "This type of murder is extremely hard to detect because the body also produces natural insulin, but due to the excellent detective work of Inspector Tirrel Gunethilleke at the time the case was uncovered," he said.

The inspector, according to his account, studied the suspect's movements carefully after the murder, when his defences were down. Ramanathan mourned the present lack of police officers who actually knew how to investigate, claiming that all they did was  to try and  beat people up to make them confess.

Among his many appointments, he was a former governor of the Western Province and at present is chancellor of the Uva Wellassa University. "The main flaw in the country's present education system is the lack of English at all levels," Ramanathan said. He said introducing English at the rural village level would solve a lot of problems - both economic and social. "It will also build a bridge between the races," he said. He commended steps taken by former Education Secretary Dr. Tara De Mel to improve English education in the country.  "This whole kaduwa concept does not help anyone, and I'm extremely glad to see Dr. De Mel has taken at least the initial steps to eliminate it," he said. 

The need is peace

Ramanathan is past president of the Medico Legal Association, British Scholars' Association and the Rotary Club.  

 "The greatest need of the moment is peace," he said, "if this can be achieved the country can truly progress." He said that in his time, even at school, there was a mixture of ethnicities and the concept of division was almost non-existent. "As the late President Premadasa said, when we were studying there were only two categories of people - good chaps and bad chaps!" According to Ramanathan, there weren't religious distinctions either. "I went in to college a Hindu, and came out one; no one tried to change or convert me and the system was very liberal then," he said. Asked about his opinion on the ethnic crises, Ramanathan advocated division of power within a unitary state. 

On the world situation, with regard to terrorism he said it was high time people looked at the terrorists' point of view as well. "Instead of immediately branding them as radicals it is important to look at their point of view - see if it is valid or not," he said.  Ramanathan was critical of the American stance towards Iraq.  "What was their reason for attacking? The presence of supposed weapons of mass destruction. Yet to this day nobody has found any weapon. Who's going to hold them accountable?" he questioned.

Diverse opinions

A well read, intelligent man with diverse and interesting opinions on a variety of issues, (most of which cannot be printed by request), Deshamanya Justice P. Ramanathan is today an unperturbed man. His wife is deputy legal draftsman in the Legal Draftsman's Department.

He adores his dachshund, which he exhibits at the Kennel Club. He is also obviously an avid reader, judging from all the books scattered around, and enjoys the theatre whenever there is a play. "But they're not as good as they used to be once." he reminisced as we left.

Tears amidst the  raging waters...

Wading through the waters, leaving their homes behind 
and Men, women and children gather on a dry patch to cook

By Jamila Najmuddin

Seven year old Ramesh cannot swim. He clings onto his mother's arms, frightened of the deep waters surrounding his once dry house. The tiny bed Ramesh sleeps on is under water and his favourite toy - a wooden doll - is lost somewhere in the deep water. He has no clothes and food and the plastic box his father gave him as a birthday gift to collect coins has also been washed away.

Ramesh's mother, 32-year-old Kumari does not understand what has happened to her little hut. All she recalls is running with her seven year old son tucked under her arms in the pouring rain on that fearful morning when someone screamed that the Kelani river was overflowing. "It was in the early hours of Tuesday when someone knocked on my door screaming to leave my house. I did not know what was happening as it was raining heavily.

I was so frightened that I thought my son and I were going to drown. Without looking back we ran for safety, away from the waters which were gushing into our homes," she says.

Kumari's family  is not  the  only family shattered by the floods, which rendered thousands of people homeless overnight, as more than 500 families, living in this scheme in the Victoria Nivasa in Kelaniya were forced out of their homes due to the heavy rains.

Little hope

Surviving on meagre salaries, these families have lost all hope as their few belongings have been destroyed or washed away. The little houses which remain under water now, are strewn with broken furniture and destroyed toys and utensils, and ornaments which once decorated their homes.

"The little furniture we had has all been destroyed.  We didn't have much but now we have nothing," says Ravi Kumara, a 17 year old boy. Ravi and Kumari are surrounded by more than 50 residents of the Victoria Nivasa waiting for a boat to take them to the other side of the scheme. As walking is impossible, they stand patiently for the navy to bring the boats, staring at the deep and muddy water and destroyed homes which once provided them shelter. As a boat is spotted turning in the far corner with little children seated on its sides, the people gather wanting to catch the first ride in the boat as it is time to rush to the other side to cook their meals near a  temple located on dry land.

As we are helped onto the boat along with the residents, the sight which awaits us is unbelievable. Tiny homes buried under water and furniture along with clothes floating in the water mixed with sewage  and dirt makes us wonder the plight of these people.

"The state never bothers about us or the conditions we live in. Our houses get flooded because there is no proper area for the water to flow away. The Urban Development Authority (UDA) turns a blind eye every time we approach them to get some help. Because of their negligence, look at what has happened to our homes," S. Liyanarachchi says, pointing at the hundreds of flooded homes.

Seventeen year old Ravi who was seated quietly behind us on the boat, suddenly points at his house ahead. However, only the tip of the roof of his house is visible while his furniture and front door is visible under water. "My father is very sick and we have no place to sleep. While he sleeps in a neighbour's two storeyed home, whose ground floor is also underwater, my friends and I sleep on another neighbour's roof which has been spared by the water," says Ravi.

"Many of these residents, including women and children, sleep on the roofs as we have no place to sleep. In the night when it rains we remain there in fear that the water levels will rise exposing us to a great risk of drowning.

Threat of disease

Children fall sick and the threat of disease  is high as the sewers too have  overflowed. The dirt which was piled in a corner has also been spread all over," another resident, Chaminda Prasad says.

However, while hope is fast fading for the elders of the Victoria Nivasa, the children remain merry as they swim in the deep waters. The boats provided by the navy for travelling around the scheme is a luxury, and while mothers scream endlessly to their off spring to remain on dry land, the children only turn deaf ears as swimming competitions are held by the younger ones in the mornings.

"We have never been in a swimming pool and the only time we have had so much of water is when I go with my father to the sea. We are unable to go to school as we have no clothes so the children in the area have formed teams in order to hold swimming competitions. We are sad that the floods have destroyed our homes but we have to accept it as no one is going to help us," explains14 year old Saman.

However, while the children make merry in the waters which have destroyed their homes, little do they realise that the threat of disease is high as the water which they swim in is not rain water but water mixed with overflowing sewage. "They do not understand the consequences of playing in these waters but how can we trap them inside some dry area? They are children afterall," said Saman's mother, L. Priyashanthi .

Food scarce

Food is also scarce for the residents of the Victoria Nivasa as they wait eagerly for the state to provide them with a loaf of bread in order to feed their children. A tiny stall, which has been put up near a  temple located on dry land on the other side of the scheme, is the only area which is available for cooking purposes for the 500 families. As the women form queus in order to cook their meals which only consists of dhal and a dry loaf of bread, the area used for cooking these meals is also unhygienic as mosquitoes and stray dogs infest the area.

"We have no other place to cook, as everything else is underwater. This is the only dry area which can be used to cook our meals. Although this area is dirty we have no choice," Priyashanthi says. As these families now remain trapped within this scheme with destroyed homes and belongings, hope has already faded for the residents and they turn a blind eye to the state.

Private donors

While the threat of disease looms over the area, the only hope which now remains is to get some assistance from private donors. As women and children are forced to sleep on roofs due to the lack of a dry area, the residents urge the authorities to provide them with two storeyed houses which can save these families from future floods. "We do not want money and we do not want food.  All we want from the state is to provide us with two storeyed homes so that we can lead a safe life even if the river   overflows again. We only hope our request will be granted soon," the residents said.

As we turn back our boat, little children and women look at us with innocent eyes - pleading for help. The sight of visitors has brought hope - hope of leading a normal life once again in dry homes which they once lived in. 

In the company of Beautiful people

Children: Every face has a story to tell

Leaders are of two types - functionaries and missionaries. Functionaries know what has to be done and they do it quite well too.  Any institution  or country for that matter cannot do without this type of leaders. They are highly efficient. Mostly they are perfectionists. When they are told what is to be done, they do it quite well.

Missionaries, on the other hand, do not have to be told. They are creative people. They do not do things because somebody wants them to do it, but because, they know that it is the right thing to do. Hence, they do whatever they have to do, with love and devotion.

Teachers too are of two types - efficient and effective.

Efficient teachers do all the peripheral work perfectly. They complete the syllabus well in time. They are up-to-date in maintaining all types of records. Their students' books are full of notes - marked and initialed. They too are an essential ingredient in any educational institution as they set the pace and standards to be achieved.

Effective teachers, on the other hand, are more sensitive to the individual needs of each child. They are concerned whether the students grasped the meanings and acquired the knowledge and skills rather than covering the syllabus on time at the end of the year.

Principals of schools are expected to be all four of the above and more.

My workday starts by standing at the entrance to the school and welcoming every child and teacher. Every face has a story to tell.

Little children are cheerful as they come. If not I start wondering,  why? Often they have something to tell me. It may be something that happened at home or in the bus. Sometimes it is a complaint.

They treat me like a friend or somebody of their own age perhaps. They do not fear to come direct to the principal and talk.

As they grow older the students become more respectful. They would not hold your coat-tail to draw your attention but they too would like you to know that they exist. If given a chance they too would pour their hearts out.

The senior students are different. They have their own worries and problems to attend to. Sometimes the smile is forced. I often have to remind them that the capacity to smile is a unique trait that the humans are endowed with.

These are all beautiful people. They are my sons and daughters. Like the ocean knows not from which river the water has come from, to me it is immaterial which nationality, race or religion they belong to.

The great German poet and dramatist, Bertold Brecht, once studied a painting of a Japanese Samurai, with intricate face marking generating a fearful and terrifying look. He observed how difficult and tiresome it is to portrait evil.

In his well-known masterpiece, Caucasian Chalk Circle, there is a scene where the little prince left behind by the uncaring mother had to be abandoned by the nurse to guarantee her own safety.

But the nurse cannot leave the little child alone to die in the desolate city, even when her own life is at stake. At this point Brecht says. "Terrible is the temptation to be good."

I too believe that the intrinsic nature of the human mind is pure. All defilement is introduced from outside.

As educationalists, our mission is to ensure that the children who are entrusted to our care grow up to be good people. Like the lotus that blossoms above the slime.

- Somabandhu Kodikara

(The writer was featured in the Times Of Oman  when he was principal of  the Sri Lankan School in Muscat. Today he is the headmaster of Gateway International School.)

First man in the fashion scene is not bowing out.

Dirthi in his 20s and Actign in a film

By Ranee Mohamed

Kirthi Sri Karunaratne who is quick to give away  his stylish shirt to an admiring friend, yet remains the most well-dressed man since the 1950s. There have been fashion designers through the years, some like fashion itself, lasted only for a certain period of time. But Kirthi Sri Karunaratne has been like a handkerchief - always there in times of need, always in fashion, come what may.

And today as Karunaratne takes his own handkerchief to his eyes to wipe the tears of joy, he is hailed with a website and a birthday party to celebrate his 52 years in the fashion industry.

"The media and television in particular have made people more and more aware of fashion," said Karunaratne. "Many people have learnt what to wear, when and how. There was a time when people wore feathers, furs and sequins on the race course in the hot sun, but today we do not see that kind of thing," he pointed out.

"My advice to every man and woman is never follow fashion blindly.  Learn to dress your age and wear clothes that suit you and suit the occasion," he said.

Karunaratne who has tread the catwalk of fashion for over five decades says that he is not uncomfortable with modern fashion. "But I am not very happy when it comes to modern day bridal wear. There is too much exposure," he whispered.

Not suitable

Karunaratne went on to say the bare shoulders and the bare midriffs, in his opinion do not go well with this most important day.  "I do not think it is in keeping with the dignity of the occasion," he said. "A bride must be dressed with dignity and be feminine. Also, it is important that her clothes should suit her.  I think she ought not to be overdone. In my opinion, simplicity is elegance. A beautiful piece of jewellery ought to be worn in a way that it is set off and is not clashing," he explained. Karunaratne the designer who knows clothes, their suitability and people in and out went on to say that it is important to wear clothes that suit one's age.

Kirthi Sri Karunaratne is the man who dressed over 1000 brides but who never married. He is the family man who dedicated and devoted his life to the welfare of his parents and siblings. "Besides I found it difficult to find a woman who would adjust to my job which involves dealing with women in different attires," he said.

Head turner

Kirthi Sri Karunaratne is a fashion designer and a fashion analyst, but it is he who turns the heads. When Karunaratne enters, the heads turn and the whispers begin. And there stands an unruffled Kirthi, a picture of elegance in his stylish shirts, silk scarves and a silkier attitude towards life itself. With hundreds of friends always with him, Karunaratne attributes his true friends to his peaceful nature. "I have never done anything to harm anyone. And even if someone harms me, I do not try to get back at him but treat the person with the same kindness," revealed Karunaratne explaining his success in life.

Kirthi can not only design, he can cook, dance and excels in gardening. "I will not do anything that I cannot do well," he says. This man who creates great food reveals his innermost desires for the pol roti. For Kirthi despite his refined exterior and immaculate Western clothing and a style that easily rubs shoulders with the Giorgio Armanis, is very much a Sri Lankan.

Making his own shirts, his own food and his own life does not make Kirthi a loner; for almost always, this exceptional man of  compact, distinguished excellence is in the middle of a merry-go-round of good friends for the past 52 years.

All about cholesterol

It is common knowledge that people with high blood cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks than those with normal blood cholesterol levels.

When you consume a low fat diet your chances of getting coronary heart disease (angina and heart attacks) strokes, colon cancer, gall stone disease and breast cancer are slim.

 When you go to your family physician for a regular check-up, you are usually advised to get a serum cholesterol (or lipid profile) test in addition to other tests such as fasting blood sugar, urine full report and ECG.

There are 18 different kinds of cholesterol.  Majority of these are bad and some of these are good cholesterol.  The most important bad cholesterol is low density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL cholesterol and the most important good cholesterol is high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or good cholesterol or healthy cholesterol.

High  density lipoprotein cholesterol (hdl cholesterol)

HDL or good cholesterol is produced by the liver, gastro intestinal tract and by the peripheral catabolism of chylomirons and VLDL (very low density, lipoprotein). By weight, HDL particles are about 30% cholesterol, 45% protein and 25% phospholipids; small amounts of triglycerides are also present.

Low hdl

HDL level should be above 40mg/dl in men and above 50/mg dl in women. Persons with low HDL have an increased risk of' getting coronary artery disease (CAD) i.e angina and heart attacks: (Miller M.E. Lancet 1977,1: 965-8), rest enosis after angioplasty (Shak P.K. et al, Circulation, 1992, 85, 1279-85), death - from cardiovascular causes if such persons are males (Wilson P. W. et al, Arteriosclerosis, 1988, 8, 737- 40) or have diabetes. Often persons with low HDL also have other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension or both, which further increase the risk.

Management of patients with low hdl cholesterol

(a) Life style modifications

Regular aerobic exercise increases the HDL cholesterol level by 3 to 9% in healthy sedentary persons (King AC et al, Circulation, 1995 , 91, 2596-604). This increase is related to frequency and intensity of exercise. (e.g five 30 minute sessions per week). Exercise may increase HDL levels by stimulating the production of pre-B HDL cholesterol and reverse cholesterol transport.

Cessation of smoking

Cigarette smoking is associated with reduced HDL cholesterol (Ellison R.C. et al, Metabolism, 2002, 51, 1313-6). After smoking cessation, HDL cholesterol increases more so in women than in men.

Weight control

Obesity is associated with reduced HDL cholesterol levels and elevated serum triglyceride level (Denke M. A. et al, Arch. Intern. Med. 1993, 153,1093-105 ).

An analysis examining the effect of weight loss on HDL Cholesterol level demonstrates that the levels increases by 0.35 mg per decilitre per kilogram of weight reduction.  A reasonable weight loss goal for obese or over weight patients is one pound (0.45kg) per week with target body mass index (BMI) of less than 25.

Alcohol intake

Moderate alcohol intake raises HDL-C levels (Ellison R.C. et al, Am. Heart J, 2004, 147, 527-35).  A meta-analysis indicated that the consumption of one fluid oz of alcohol per day increases HDL cholesterol level by a mean of 4mg per dl irrespective of the kind of alcohol consumed (RIMM E.B. et al, B. M. J. 1999, 319, 1523-8). Mild to moderate consumption of alcohol (no more than one to two drinks per day) appears to be reasonable for many persons with low HDL.

Dietary fat intake

Plasma LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol levels decline with reduction in intake of dietary fat. Subjects who consume low-fat diet (19% of total calories from fat) have lower HDL cholesterol than subjects who take a high fat diet (50% of total calories from fat).

Native Alaskan population that takes a diet rich is n-3-poly-unsaturated fatty acids have a high HDL cholesterol level. A diet rich in n-3 poly unsaturated fatty acid- sources include oils (olive, canola, soy, flaxseed), nuts (cashew nuts, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, precans), fruits such as avocado, cold water fish (salmon, mackerel), and shellfish can be recommended to increase serum HDL cholesterol levels.


Several classes of medication increase HDL cholesterol levels; those include niacin and fibrates in particular and to a lesser degree statins such as atorvastatin. These medicines also lower triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol level.

Niacin (Nicotinc acid, vitamin B3)

This vitamin is very effective in raising HDL and causes 20-35% increase of HDL. Side- effects of niacin are cutaneous flush, dyspepsia, elevation of plasma glucose and uric acid levels. Because of the side-effects this drug is not commonly prescribed by Sri Lankan doctors.

A low level of HDL cholesterol is an independent risk factor for heart attacks. The HDL-C level should be over 40mg/dl for men and over 50mg/dl in women. A comprehensive approach to achieving optimal HDL-C should include life-style modification. In certain high risk patients, drugs such as fibrates and statins should be given. Smoking should be stopped completely and obese persons should bring down weight and must take regular exercise. Mild to moderate consumption of alcohol should be tried if there are no contra-indications.

Food containing monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil and certain nuts such as cashew and peanuts, cold water fish (such as salmon, and mackerel) and shellfish are recommended for persons with low HDL. In persons with established atherosclerotic disease or major risk factors such as diabetes and in whom HDL-C levels remain low despite lifestyle modification, if the triglyceride levels remain above 250mg/dl, it is reasonable to prescribe a fibrate in addition to lifestyle recommendations and fibrates lower the triglyceride levels and increase HDL-C levels.

- Dr. D.  P.  Atukorala

New England Journal Of Medicine, September 22, 2005, Vol. 353, 1252 - 60.

Life is an ice cream

When you're feeling gloomy, the remedy is to stuff yourself with something sinful but delicious. One of the most forbidden but satisfying things I indulge in is ice cream.

       Almost nobody dislikes it. Apparently, ice cream has been around from the 2nd century B.C. Since ice from mountains was a vital ingredient, finding its location and subsequent transport and storage were very costly factors. So it was mostly royalty or very rich people who could afford to serve it. Kings and emperors served ice in courts with fruit and drinks. Milk and cream were added and voila! You had your ice cream.

Eating the Swiss way

Cones or wafers were invented later on. Nowadays, no party is complete without ice cream. I have a friend who is an ice cream fanatic, her favourite brand being Haagen Daazs. Since she lives in Switzerland, everyone asks her how on earth she could eat it in the winter. Wear about two cardigans and a pair of thick woollen socks, throw a warm blanket around and sit in front of the T.V. and you jolly well can, she says. Her favourite flavours are Belgian chocolate and pralines with cream. The few times I have been able to indulge, although it is absolutely yum, it's jolly costly! We're lucky as we have a variety at a reasonable price.

At one of the kids parties, one little boy got through 11 ice cream cones! I told him he might end up being sick, but he said he had it all the time and his mum allowed him to eat any amount! I never checked that out. Another little girl came in the middle of the party and said that her mum only allows her to eat melted ice cream and whether I could melt her some. At that time I didn't have a microwave, so one of my maids had to stop her work and stir vigorously until the little miss was satisfied that it was quite melted!

Once I tried out a new recipe for avacado ice cream that sounded really nice, when we were having some friends over. Alas, when we tried to eat it, for some mysterious reason, it was absolutely bitter and inedible.

Ice cream parlours

The biggest treat on Sundays was to be taken to Piccadilly Caf where we would have ice cream sundaes, which included Knickerbocker Glory and Banana Split. The most fun we had whilst at school was scooting off across the road to Zellers Ice cream parlour. It was taboo to be seen in public places in school uniform, how we justified that was by removing our ties! There was this waiter who dreaded our appearance, as he would have to count the mountainous pile of coins we used to pay the bill. Sometimes we did not  even have anything left to give him a tip.

One of us who now lives in Australia said when she came back many years later, she went over and found him there. She gave him a hefty tip and said it was for all the times we left without giving him anything! On another occasion, my friend and I asked another classmate to come along with us. She obviously did not know that each of us paid for ourselves. We suddenly realised that she didn't have any money on her, and whilst she and I eat teeny bites of our ice cream, my friend gobbled hers up, and went racing off to the next lane where a schoolmate lived to borrow some money to pay the bill.

I kept praying that she would be at home ! Meanwhile, the other friend had got the picture in between all the frantic whispering, and she kept offering to go home and get some money. I told her she dare not leave me alone, I was scared stiff that my friend would not get the money and abandon us. Our favourite waiter kept eyeing us suspiciously, probably realising what was up . That is one of the few ice creams I just couldn't enjoy ! I could picture myself being arrested or something !

We also had the ice cream van with its blaring music and the tricycles with tinkling bells and loud horns, coming right up to our doorstep regularly. It was an unwritten rule that we all had an ice cream whenever it turned up. Remember the song, "Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.."

Honky Tonk Woman

Cosmetic surgery in Sri Lanka...

By Shezna Shums

Plastic surgery. The very thought conjures up an image of painful surgery under the surgeon's knife in the cold, sterile operating room. But plastic surgery is in fact not as painful as one may think - the surgery mostly involves the outer layers of skin while only a few procedures involve invasive surgery. But what could be experienced after the surgery may be soreness, bruising and at times very slight scarring.

Plastic surgeons explained that in Sri Lanka  it is after an accident where most patients come to seek plastic surgery. However there is a small percentage of people who seek plastic surgery for enhancing their features.

Nevertheless the plastic surgeons who spoke to The Sunday Leader said that plastic surgery is not the only means of achieving a beautiful body and of  improving one's appearance. Plastic surgery is mostly done in major hospitals in Colombo and Kandy.

One of the most popular plastic surgeries to be done in the country is breast reduction. This is where the surgeon would take out some fat from the breast.

Hardly any scarring

In this case with the latest technology there is very little scarring after this surgery. However scarring also depends a lot on the complexion of the person.

Most problems associated with a large chest is that a person may not be able to wear the clothes they want, experience shoulder and back pains as well as undergo some embarrassment.

Even breast augmentation is done in Sri Lanka.  This is where silicone or other tested materials are used to enhance one's breast at a cost of around Rs. 100,000.

There are no life threatening risks involved in this surgery but there is a possibility of the foreign object or silicone getting infected and having to be removed.

Liposuction is another kind of surgery that is available in our country. Here the surgery is used basically to shape and contour the body. It is a technique used to remove an abnormal amount of fat.


Liposuction is mainly used in places such as the saddle bag areas in the thighs and the lower abdomen, double chin, fat on the inner thighs, and fat on the inner aspect of the knees. A considerable number of Sri Lankans seek liposuction treatment.

However doctors also stress that if a person is overweight overall, the best option would be to go on a diet as liposuction can only be used in one part of the body at a time and to remove a maximum of five litres of fat.

This is a relatively risk free procedure but with one major risk where there is the possibility of fat embolism, where fat or oil could hit the lungs, causing respiratory problems.

However following the guidelines when carrying out the procedure eliminates the possibility of such problems.

It is advisable to do only one area so that you don't do the arm and legs when it comes to removing fat.

And using certain drugs one could reduce oozing and bruising following the surgery. Some of the after-effects of this surgery are swelling and bruising which takes about three weeks to become normal.

Usually the patient has to stay for one day in hospital, but if liposuction is done for a small area then the patient could leave the hospital the same day.

Liposuction is a means to shape a part of the body that has abnormal amounts of fat and not a means to get slim overnight.

The cost would include theatre time, anesthesia and for an abdomen liposuction an average would work out to about Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 80,000.

Nose job

The nose job is also available in our country and could make a nose either smaller or  sharper. However results of plastic surgery are not always as one would expect it to be by looking at pictures because the skin on the nose is different from person to person.

There are people with very thick skin to thin skin so if the skin is thin it would be easier to change. However with thinner skin results could be hard to determine.

Surgery on the nose could be done to clear an obstruction in the airways, to rectify breathing problems, deformities and after trauma.

A day's stay in hospital is needed after surgery and after a week the plaster is removed if the nose job requires a plaster. The only scarring may be a minute scar on the underside of the nose between the nostrils.

Face lifts are not very common in our country but nevertheless they are available.

The newer technique involves much lesser traditional surgery but is not available as yet here.

However there are other techniques that people try such as creams and other products to improve their appearance.

Cosmetic surgery alone could not make a major difference, but  it has to be an entire personality change - changing the dress, hair style,  in fact everything. Even a smile on a person's face will make a world of a difference.

Some of the pre-operative questions that are important to ask include: the complications involved in the surgery, what is the cost, is it covered by insurance, how many days in hospital and how many days would the patient need to take off work,when could the patient get  back to normal life etc.

With plastic surgery there is very little medication and no long-term medications that are needed.

Much  of the cosmetic surgery is  done on the outside. It is all to do with the skin and the underlining tissues and this way the pain is less.   Some complications a patient should keep in mind are the general problems with anaesthesia, infections, blood hemotoma or blood collecting to form a bubble - but these are not life threatening.

However there are also complications when the facial nerves get damaged or the nerves leading to muscles, but by sticking to guidelines these could be avoided.

Scarring is always a problem, for dark-complexioned people scarring is a bigger problem than with fairer skins.

Third Annual Sri Lanka Foundation Awards 2005 held in USA

Oscars of a different kind!

Pradeep Ratnayake in action and Some of the proud award winners

Amidst a galaxy of grandly clad Sri Lankan women and equally well attired men, Sri Lanka Foundation, a non-profit national foundation based in Los Angeles, California, USA, held its third annual Sri Lanka Foundation Awards-2005 at the prestigious Globe Theatre, Universal Studios, California.

All guests were welcomed at the entrance to a beautiful red carpet walkway, and they glided through the arts and crafts exhibition and corporate booths nicely decorated for the occasion. A solo violinist entertained the guests while they helped themselves to some delicious hors d'oeuvres and the spirits of all kinds, both regular and premium.

Once the doors opened, the guests moved into one of the most tastefully decorated halls, Globe Theatre where some very prestigious events have taken place over the past decades. Huge banners falling from the roof depicting the various ancient Korale flags added to the ambience by which almost all were overwhelmed.

Five pretty Sri Lankan damsels embellished the evening with a fashion show that modelled the beautiful Indian saris and lengas sponsored by Lashkara, an exclusive Indian boutique in San Fernando Valley. The highlight of the evening was the award ceremony itself, but Pradeep Ratnayake, the sitar virtuoso from Sri Lanka kept the audience mesmerised by his unique rendition of sitar play. He was equal to the occasion with his mastery of play that nearly caressed the entire audience into a trance.

An old boy of Ananda College, Professor of Medicine, Chief of Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dr. Sunil Wimalawansa, Director of Regional Osteoporosis Center of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Jersey and an old Josephian, Dr. Tony Chandraratna, Chief of Division of Cardiology and Director of Echocardiography, Long Beach VA Medical Center and Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine won the coveted Lifetime Achievement Awards this year.

Both Dr. Wimal- awansa and Dr. Chandraratna have obtained more than seven patents each in the medical field and continue to conduct research in their respective fields of specialisation. Nirosha Nimalasuriya was awarded the "Srimerican of the Year-2005" for her pioneering work at the Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat while being a top-notch attorney at Cleary, Gottleib, Steen & Hamilton in New York

In addition to the above awards, Gamini Ratnavira, renowned photographer, Lakshman Wickramarachchi, lucrative 40 perfume store owner, Don McCoy, a pioneer in de-mining in Sri Lanka won the Exceptional Achievement Awards and Ronika Kalpage, Tharanga Gunatilake and Charles Perera carried away the Exceptional Performance Awards. Twenty seven Tsunami Service Awards were presented to 27 worthy, compassionate winners in recognition of their contribution to the cause of humanty.

The occasion was graced by Sri Lankan Ambassador in the USA,  Bernard Goonatilleke and Consul General in Los Angeles, H. K. J. R.  Bandara. When asked by the press, Executive Director, Sri Lanka Foundation, Palitha Pelpola stated that the foundation has established a good name among Sri Lankans living in the USA and receives ample encouragement and support, both financial and moral from their compatriots. He thanked Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, the founder/president of SLF, a well known medical doctor and a philanthropist in USA for having the foresight to conceptualise a programme like the Sri Lanka Foundation Awards and following through with the support of Sri Lankans and non-Sri Lankans. 

He also said that the foundation is planning to hold a fully-fledged concert by Pradeep Ratnayake and his Pradeepanjalee Troupe in June next year. Also in the pipeline is a College Scholarship Programme for needy Sri Lankan students.  Palitha Pelpola is very optimistic about the future of the Sri Lanka Foundation.

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