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9th April, 2006  Volume 12, Issue 39

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                                    

Review

Love and compassion that moved people to tears...

By Ranee Mohamed

The BMICH was a sea of faces, a sea of tears on  Sunday April 2. People from all walks of life, of  all faiths and all parts of Sri Lanka....

More......


Review more articles

> Improving the lives of children

> Waking up to New York...

> The great unwritten story of Carey

> A study of discipline

> Take away the tears and help this baby to live

> Of American idols and our household (....Balder dash)

> Correct eating  for a healthy body  and calm mind

> Operation mouse hunt ( ....Perth Diary)


Love and compassion that moved people to tears...

Dr.D.G.S.Dhinakaran and Dr.Paul Dhinakaran

By Ranee Mohamed

The BMICH was a sea of faces, a sea of tears on  Sunday April 2. People from all walks of life, of  all faiths and all parts of Sri Lanka gathered here. The main hall was filled with people; the other floors choc-a-bloc with the aggrieved. Even on the concrete steps leading to the BMICH were people with tired bodies and enlivened minds.

Inside the main hall, amidst the crowd was Dr.D.G.S. Dhinakaran and his son Dr. Paul Dhinakaran; the lights were on, the cameras were whirring and people standing so close to each other were trying hard to reach out to them. some were swaying with devotion, yet others crying.

And here Dr. D.G.S. Dhinakaran and his son Dr. Paul Dhinakaran gave Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka, their love and compassion in full measure. They called out to Lord Jesus Christ to bless these people, heal them, take away their innermost worries. They called out to Jesus, in a manner so fitting to their ministry which is called Jesus Calls Ministries. Their call this day was to bless this land - for this was a day of fasting and prayer, all for the sake of this nation, initiated by these two holy visitors from neighbouring India.

Blessing Sri Lanka, Dr. D.G.S. Dhinakaran and his son Dr. Paul Dhinakaran said  "God shall be merciful unto His land and to His people," Referring to Sri Lanka they also went on to proclaim  "There shall be showers of blessings (no more destroying storms), the tea estates shall prosper; the exports will go up thereby.  The government of Sri Lanka shall open the country for foreign investment and thereby job opportunities shall increase; the spending of the government on the defence budget shall go down."

"I have seen it all with my naked eye. It has all happened before me and I have seen it happen," said Suloch Raja, the director of international affairs, based in Chennai. Raja was the layman among them. "I have seen blind eyes open, seen deaf ears hear and the lame walking. I have seen people get off wheelchairs and walk," said Raja, whispering with faith.

"I travel with them everywhere, but I have seen so much happen in Dimapur, Chennai and in Hyderabad. Recently in Kuwait, a young boy who could not hear was able to hear after prayer," said Raja.

And in this way these two have engaged in emanating love and compassion to heal living beings of this universe. As people thronged them, mobbed them with love wherever they appeared, to see them alone, catch them alone, where they lived, at the Crescat Residencies there was 'tight security.' 

    Even those with appointments, just two or three people were not allowed to go in. We were stopped at the reception, asked to wait, told that the Dhinakarans were not to be disturbed. All these barriers are understandable, for even the vehicles in which this father and son travelled were followed, crowded and.. the tears of those in distress, those in tears and those with unshaken faith, flowed.

Thus seated opposite Dr. D. G. S. Dhinakaran and his son Dr. Paul Dhinakaran seemed like a truly divine experience; but they seemed very much like other people - people with flesh and blood - and compassion for all human beings. These are two people who prayed to Jesus on behalf of suffering human beings, those with physical, mental and spiritual problems.

They hold my hand and pray with such intensity that it moves me. This they do to all human beings who come to them, be they rich or poor, sick or well.. and from wherever they may be.

"We are not here to condemn. Condemnation is easy. We are here to pray sincerely that God will change the situation; to pray very deeply and expect things to happen," said Dr. Dhinakaran who said that prayer would soon bring blessings.

"When two or three people get together and asked for it, it would be done, we have been taught; but at the BMICH  it was over 3000 people asking for peace and prosperity for Sri Lanka," he pointed out. "The heart of God will be moved, we have sunk to our depths in prayer for one purpose, that is to pray to bring in peace and prosperity. There is hope in prayer. Do not despair, you can still pray," he pointed out to the aggrieved.

Personal experience

Dr. Dhinakaran speaking of his own life went on to say that at the age of 20 he was a depressed youth, poverty and unemployment had made his life difficult. "It was on February 20, 1955, I decided to stand before a moving train. It was an uncle of mine who was a policeman who intervened.

"He was a man engaged in prayer and showed me the way. He taught me to pray and I knelt in prayer and cried. I cried for four hours.I saw little things that God did not like - disobeying my parents. and then I felt a great peace come upon my life. And I knew God was going to help me," said Dr. Dhinakaran.

"In the eyes of the world I would have looked very foolish. But I was very confident, I passed those examinations that I could not pass, I  reached the top. I was the chief of over 700 people," said Dr. Dhinakaran who has excelled at his banking examinations.

When asked about his experiences with Lord Jesus Christ, Dr. Dhinakaran said that he remembers October 10, 1962.  "I came late from the bank. We had some guests at home. My dad prayed every night and that night," recalled Dr. Dhinakaran,  "I was praying when the whole room filled with a strong light. It was the most wonderful experience in my life.

"He told me that he would give me his compassion. Jesus Christ appeared. He talked to me for three hours.  He went back seven years and told me: Today after much hardship and struggle,  this technical college, is in existence. Called the Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences, it puts forth hundreds of youth, after giving them a job-oriented education my compassion, pray for people and whatever you ask would be answered, Lord Jesus Christ told me."

When asked what Jesus was wearing, Dr. Dhinakaran told me that people forget to notice what Jesus was wearing for the light is so strong. "He appears with a strong light. His face is the same face of his 2000 years ago," he said.

Among the significant words that Christ spoke had been a request to build up a technical college to give a job-oriented education, a trying task for this banker who did not have a technical education nor the funds to open such a college.

Great compassion

Whenever anyone has a problem and comes to Dr.  Dhinakaran he feels a great compassion overcomes him, he said. "I feel so deeply for that person and I sincerely pray for anyone who comes to me. I pray for those who fax me, who write  to me," he said.

Jesus Calls Ministries has branches all over the world. Their Sri Lanka branch is situated at 15/1B Joseph's Lane, Colombo 4.

"All kinds of people come to me, I never ask who they are, or their background. The Lord shows them compassion and many miracles happen," he said.

The gatherings before Dr.  Dhinakaran and his son Dr. Paul Dhinakaran seems like the largest gatherings on earth, sometimes as many as 800,000 and even more gather before them to hear and receive the great love of Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Paul Dhinakaran, like his father, shows his own compassion on his face.  Speaking of his transformation, Dr. Paul said that he led a not -so-holy-life when he was a youth. "I tried to lead a godly life but my friends would make fun of me and ask me whether I want to live the life of Saduji, 'come and enjoy with us' they said."

"They showed me the world," said Dr. Paul Dhinakaran. Despite him having a college education, Dr. Paul said that he felt a fear. "I could not tell my friends that I fear, for they would have called me a 'sissy.'  I could not have told my parents because they would have disciplined me more," said Dr. Paul Dhinarakan of his fears.

It was at an uncertain time of life, at a time like this, that his father had forced him to attend one of his 'meetings.' "God could make you somebody, he told me and with these words he pierced my heart. I cried for two hours and I prayed and I felt a divine peace settling in me," said Dr. Paul Dhinakaran.

Ever since, the life of Dr. Paul Dhinakaran has been a success, with a Ph.D. in advertising at 26 years of age, he was able to help build up a university with over 5000 students. He is also in India's national committee for school education, a committee that decides on policies for eduation in the country,

Word of God

But what draws the thousands to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran is neither his key positions in government establishments in the country, nor his positions in the university.  It is the love and compassion of Jesus that he is able to bring upon thousands of people.  Dr. Paul Dhinakaran is followed, revered and mobbed by those who have seen him perform miracles upon those ailing, physically and mentally, of his ability, like his father to cal out names from unknown gatherings, bring people upstage, speak at length about their problems, ailments and fears and cast them aside with faith and prayer.

"The Holy Spirit shows me the name, shows me the problems, though my eyes remain closed," he told me.

Life is filled with problems, tears, fears and heartaches, and what we all need is a way out of the tears. Dr. D.G.S. Dhinakaran and Dr. Paul Dhinakaran come at a time like this, at a time when we are all in tears.. to pray for us.. and to wipe away those tears, with a smile, with prayer and a great compassion that could only come from above.


Improving the lives of children

Children: The suffering continues...

By Shezna Shums

Children's rights is a crucial issue in the development of a society and country. Children can also be said to be the life blood of a country as it is they who will be the future leaders and workers of the country.

Looking at Sri Lanka where it is said that we have one of the highest literacy levels in the south Asian region, there are still several issues regarding children that need to be addressed and resolved. According to the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, there are an estimated 200,000 children below the age of 14 who are not attending school.

Moneragala District records the highest number of children who are not attending school. Some of the other places where there are high numbers of children not attending school are  Badulla, Anuradhapura and other agricultural districts growing  paddy, vegetables  and sugar cane.

"Lesser number of children from estate communities in Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura  attend school  because they are used for child labour and   work in shops and houses," explained Commissioner, Department of Probation and Child Care Services, D.M.S.Abhaya-gunawardana. His department has planned several programmes in order to improve the rights of children and increase  awareness on this issue.

Financial help

Currently tsunami affected children below 18 years will be saving Rs. 1500 every month under the Sena Hasa account, an initiative by the present government. Rs 5 million has also been allocated to refurbish and improve the quality of state children's homes islandwide. There is also an estimated 13,000 children in state homes, and the government will increase their allowance from Rs. 300 a month to Rs. 600 a month. This has already been done for the children in the North East and Uva Provinces.

Several crash programmes have also been started to improve the situation of the children of the country. Especially   tsunami affected children below the age of five will be provided with a nutrition pack , as most programmes do not target children below the age of five. The organisation known as Hope for Children will be allocating Rs. 800 per pack for about 100 children.

Furthermore the commissioner also told The Sunday Leader that they hope to strengthen the already existing divisional monitoring committees set up to look into the issues affecting children in their respective areas. The divisional monitoring committee is headed by the divisional secretary, and the members include the education director, police OIC, district medical officer, labour officer, samurdhi officer and grama niladhari.

These committees have already been established and the department hopes to improve its monitoring capabilities during the course of this year. Child abuse, child labour and children's rights are some of the issues to be discussed with a view to educating  the public. Community leaders, children and their parents, pre school children, and other target groups are being selected in order to send this message across.

The department also hopes to amend the Orphanages Ordinance (1944) to better accommodate today's needs, as amendments have not been made since the ordinance was incorporated. As there are 300 voluntary homes registered with the department it is also hoped to conduct training programmes for the managers and matrons of these homes. "Skills development training programmes are also being planned and has already started in the Sabaragamuwa Province," said Abaya-gunawardana.

More programmes

More education sponsorships are also being planned for the tsunami affected children. This year has been named the national 'Year for Children' and there is also a national campaign being conducted by the department as well as The Business Club to raise awareness on child rights, child abuse and child labour.  

The department hopes to increase the number of children attending school, as well as bring down the numbers of children being used for child labour so that children will be respected and given their due rights.


Travellers Checks

Waking up to New York...

I am startled awake by the sound of a heavy door crashing shut in a room nearby. I have no idea where I am except that I am lying on a couch, with no shirt on, in a carpeted hallway awfully lit by fluorescent bulbs. There are no windows. I slowly come to remember where I am. I am on the 21st floor of an office building in midtown Manhattan. Not just an ordinary office building, I am in the main nerve center of the modern media broadcasting universe. Any channel can be sent anywhere and is. Here New York never sleeps. But I do, on a small couch out in the hall.

The sound of the door waking me up is the secretary arriving in the morning. I have no idea what time it is. I don't want the secretary seeing me here in the hallway topless. I find my shirt and quietly peer into the reception room. I glimpse the backside of a dark-haired woman as she goes into the restroom. I victoriously sneak out the front door of the office without her seeing me and John gets to keep his job.

The best part about New York City is how random it all can be. The key is to insert yourself into the earnest lives of people and take it from there. I have never cared for sightseeing, landmarks bore me, but thrust me into the day-to-day happenings of friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends and places really come alive. For the past week I have flitted about the five boroughs meeting jazz legends, discussing Buddhism, joining protests and drinking Joe.

Chance encounters during meetings out and about.

Don't have friends here? No problem. Make some quick ones before you come through Craigslist or personal ads in the Village Voice.

Twenty-one floors down and out on the street I can tell it is well before 7 a.m. The sun is barely up and I'm near Grand Central Station before even the earliest commuters. Steam rises from below the ground as men bustle about unloading stacks of beverages and newspapers from delivery trucks. My neck hurts from the awkward way I slept on that couch.

 I decide to head downtown to where I usually crash in New York, which is wherever my ex-girlfriend Suzie happens to be living this year. She moved to New York four years ago and goes through apartments like I go through new countries. Right now she lives in a loft down in Soho, an area in Manhattan famous for its art galleries and trendy shopping. I really could use a shower and a change of clothes and maybe a couple more hours of sleep before the day starts. Right now I need coffee. Two rules of thumb in New York - you can always find coffee, and you can never find a toilet.

After caffeination I head underground and catch the six train south. With rush hour beginning I can feel thick apprehension in the air surrounding the silent commuters -  recently four bombs went off on London's Metro system killing dozens. One of the idiosyncracies of living here is that Newyorkers have it in the back of their heads at all times that they are terrorist target number one.

 No one admits how jittery they are, but I see them on this train eyeing each other and covertly glancing underneath the seats for unattended bags and packages. In turn, I eye everyone and check for unattended bags and packages. I usually ride the subway at night, the tension dissipates and a summer stench of sweat, booze and heated concrete permeates the lines instead.

Mason barks loudly and I curse as I step in his crap in the dark of Suzie's place. India is tidier than here. Suzie and her five roommates rented this loft, previously a corporate office, three months ago completely unfurnished. By unfurnished I mean there weren't even walls for bedrooms when they moved in. Now the space consists of a chaotic pile of screws, sheetrock scraps, tools and boxed personal items.

There is the ramshackle start of the bedrooms. The people here have been living like this for months, too young and busy to actually work on putting up the place. My original plan to spend most of my time here backfired. I was allergic to the dust and got tired of stepping on screws and Mason's crap. Worse, I unwittingly offended Suzie's roommates when I first got in.

That first evening I was walking in the hall shouting over the breaking up signal on my mobile phone to my friend in New Jersey: "Man! You should see this place! It's an absolute disaster. I don't know how anyone can live here!"

I didn't think anyone else was home. Turns out everyone was home.  They all could easily hear my cursory summary of their living conditions (no one had bedroom doors) and I had broken the most important sofa-surfing rule - 'Never offend your hosts.'

After my rude and obvious comment, which I tried to cover up by quickly changing the subject on the mobile with my friend, these New York City bat-trolls emerged from their rooms one by one. I thought I was going to get hassled, but instead they grabbed hammers, nails, clamps and saws and started working fervently. I must have really struck a nerve.

 Suzie's smart and capable and hates it but they pay her well. In New York you can make money but live soullessly or just try and scrape by somehow.

Sex on the sidewalk

With Suzie gone I shower and change my clothes and take a nap for a couple of hours in her big brass bed. I have free time today and decide to head up to Central Park and do yoga. It's already hot outside, humid in an offensive way. There are only two nice months a year in New York, April and September. London has bad rainy and foggy weather but New York has awful cold and muggy heat. I sweat my shirt through walking uptown.

 A heat like this is sexual in nature. All week long I have been watching the sex ooze out of the sidewalk. I can see it in the million types of girls passing by walking their dogs or with shopping bags in their hands. I see every variety. New York presses everyone together, we're on intimate terms, holding hands on the subway and dancing together through the doorways. Cities like Los Angeles have automobiles and freeways that conspire to create distance and separate the diverse multitudes. Here we're all right in front of each other with no where to run and hide.

After my yoga and some healthy contemplation in the park I go to get hamburgers at The Burger Joint. This is a greasy place well-hidden behind a curtain in the lobby of The Park Meridian, a ritzy four star hotel full of French people with money. A neon hamburger behind a menacing concierge reveals the way. A friend who helps produce the shows at Carnegie Hall, on the same block, meets me for lunch there. He's from Michigan, lived in Seattle a while, and hopes to study and work soon in London.

Coming and going like everyone else. He offers to take me out to Brooklyn tonight to a hipster party but I've decided instead to see an Israeli girl living here in the East Village whom I met last year in Argentina. The best part about New York City is how random it can all be.

- The Traveller


The great unwritten story of Carey

Portals of learning...

THE school playground is not only where you got your first knee scratch, it's also where you first learnt to interact with other children. Your school informed your adult life, your career and your character.  Your teachers were those beacons of light that showed you the way forward.

The Sunday Leader continues to feature those great halls of learning that helped shape Sri Lanka's citizens. 

Rev. H.J.charter B.A.B.D. (Lond) (Principal 1914-192), Principal, E.W.Wijesinghe and Head Mistress, N.C. Henderling

FACT  FILE

School colours : Blue and maroon.

Flag : School colours with the crest in it.

School motto : Servi et Pare (Serve and obey)

Houses : Carey, Arthington, Spooner, Waldock.

Type of school  : 1A - Baptist School (Fully private). 1A is a school that consists of classes from grade 13 and a hostel. On the other hand,   1B is a school that consists of classes from  grade 1 to grade 13 without a hostel.

Starts at :  7.55 a.m. The school time is begun with a prayer time. Parents, students andteachers bow their heads standing still while listening to the prayers.

Closes at : 2 p.m.

College uniform : Grade 1 to 9 - White short-sleeved shirt. Black or brown shoes and white socks Grade 10 to 13 - White short-sleeved shirt, white longs, black or brown shoes and white socks. All students have the college monogram which is clearly visible on their shirt pocket

School prefects : One prefect board. They are chosen from grade 11, 12 and 13. Senior prefects - 14 Sub prefects - 26 Class prefects - 26 (They are the prefects in charge of classes).

By Sunalie Ratnayake

When arriving at the  busy intersection  near the Medical College down Kinsey Road, Colombo 8, there is a gigantic structure that stands proud and grabs the attention of passersby.

This eye-catching building is the centre of attraction in this particular spot that is eternally busy with traffic. Yet, at first glimpse itself  one learns that  this building is none other than 'Carey College' that was founded in the year 1914.

History

'To God be the glory,' great things he hath done.' Carey College is the result of the vision God had to have a vineyard in which the good seed could be planted, from which would emerge  good fruit. In the year 1914, the Baptist Missionaries brought this vision to fulfilment and the inception of the school was marked on January 12, 1914.

It was named B. M. S. Boys High School. In 1925, the college was renamed Carey Baptist College in honour of the first Baptist Missionary to the east, William Carey.  Early in 1911, the present site was acquired with the money sent from London for the Theological Institute and the Hostel and in November 1911 the Rev.  J. A. Ewing wrote as follows:

"We have an excellent site, a European Missionary on the premises to look after the physical, educational and spiritual welfare of the boys and with a good staff, we have nothing to fear. The blessings of a century call us to sacrifice.  Let us then give systematically and joyfully to the Centenary Fund, towards a scheme which has been a long felt need for years, the establishment of our own Baptist Boys High School."

The very first buildings were the missionaries' bungalow, boys' hostel and lodgings for the theological students. Later, the much needed assembly hall named 'Waldock Memorial Hall' was put up in memory of the late Rev. F. D. Waldock. The initial number of students were two and there were three masters. Since then, the college has advanced through the years both physically and academically.

The college crest

Designed by Rev. W. M. P. Jayatunga in 1948 and produced by Messrs Pearce Plan Service Ltd. London, it first appeared on the cover page of the 1948 college magazine. A blue shield stands on a maroon circle. The centre of which is marked with a bold white cross (originally maroon).  The heart shows two hands opening a door, which leads to the pathway of life with the crown of eternal life as its goal. Prominence is also given to the motto 'Serve and obey.'

The college today

Though the full story of Carey could never be told as it is treasured in the hearts of hundreds of old boys in many walks of life, after 92 years the college has improved immensely in many aspects. There is an unprecedented demand to admit children to Carey and the number on its roll today is 2176. The tutorial staff is 123. The clerical staff consists of 13 and supporting staff numbers 15. The hostel has a staff of three. During the years 2005-2006, 10 teachers have been sent for training to Maharagama, Balapitiya and Giragama Teacher Training Colleges.

The current Principal, E. W. Wijesinghe is a great beacon of light, who has dedicated his life to serve students. Wijesinghe who started as an assistant teacher in 1957, also served as a sectional head and is serving as principal at the college since 1994.

The college is fortunate to have a Baptist Principal as the head after a lapse of 10 years. Under the guidance of Wijesinghe, the college has shown immense progress and it is observed that Wijesinghe is the most popular principal the college has ever had. Within the matter of half-an-hour that I spent with Wijesinghe, I could say without any hesitation that he is a strict disciplinarian, who is also extremely kind.

The Head Mistress is Nalini C. Henderling and the Deputy Principal is M.  D. A. Kuweju. There are two Assistant Vice Principals and they are Geethani Algama and Sumith Rohana Ranasinghe. D. S. Hettiarachchi and D. Z. De S. Abeysiriwardene are sectional heads.

Academic results

The examination results of year 2004 and 2005 have been very encouraging and satisfactory. Ninety eight out of 146 were qualified for  G.C.E (A/L) studies in 2004 while 111 students passed the  G.C.E.(O/L). Four students topped the list with 10 AA,  the maximum possible.

At the G.C.E. (A/L) in April 2005 examination 48 out of 99 students qualified to apply for admission to the universities. Three students obtained AA in all subjects. At the Grade V Scholarship Examination 22 students obtained over 133 marks and were eligible to apply for scholarships.

Religious activities

Christian hymns and spiritual songs are played from 7.30 a.m. to 7.55 a.m. through the public address system.  Each school day ends with a prayer as well. On Mondays and Wednesdays the school begins with religious observances from 8 a.m. to 8.20 a.m. The general assembly is held on Thursdays. On Fridays, the school Christian Movement is held at the chapel from  1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  During this period, the Buddhists meet at the main hall for their religious observances and the Muslims are allowed to go to the mosque.

"It certainly is a blessing by God almighty that I have been able to continue in the field of education for 49 years and next year I shall be completing 50 years in the field and I thank God for the strength he has granted me to carry on," Carey College Principal, E. W. Wijesinghe told The Sunday Leader. "There is no education in a school without discipline and discipline begins with the school uniform," Wijesinghe added.

"My only concern is that if one takes teaching as a career, one should forget about everything else and serve the students with utmost dedication. Since every human being has his own problems, I always tell my staff, 'Bundle up your worries, bring them up to the school gate, keep them there. Hide your crying interior with your laughing exterior. Carry out your duties in school as a service and when you leave the school for the day, collect that bundle of worries you left at the gate and carry them out.' That is how I expect my staff to serve,"  Wijesinghe said.

 Curricular activities

When it comes to sports and games, the list is endless at Carey College.  The college has facilities for athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, chess, cricket, elle, football,  gymnastics, karate, rugby, swimming, table tennis, volley ball, Wu-shu, cadeting, and has a safety patrol unit, scouting and cub pack.

 There are societies and clubs such as the English Literary Association,  English Oratorical and Debating Society, Junior Sinhala Literary Society, Senior Sinhala Literary Association, Sinhala Debating Society, Sinhala Dramatic Society, Oriental Music Society, Oriental Dancing, Science Society, Photographic Society, Commerce and Arts Society, School Savings Bank, School Co-operative Society, Western Band and College Choir, Information Technology Club, Interact Club, College Leo Club, Social Work Unit and the Media Unit.

Tsunami relief project

Carey College did not forget to assist those who faced the tragic tsunami that devastated the country on December 26, 2004.  A special fund was raised with the intention of re-constructing a school building destroyed by the tsunami. The tutorial and supporting staff as well as the parents and students contributed towards the fund.

Accordingly, the foundation stone was laid on February 2, this year to construct three classrooms for Galhenkanda Maha Vidyalaya in the Galle District. The construction work is being carried out and the estimate of the building is in the region of Rs. 1.2 million. It would accommodate the children of the displaced families of  Telwatte who would be settled down at the Ampegama village housing scheme constructed by the Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya.

As all the other Baptist schools, 66 in number were taken over by the government, Carey College is, the only Baptist school in the island today and all indications are that it would grow from strength to strength in every way, especially academically.

Branches

The college certainly has expanded almost to the maximum within the available space at Kynsey Road.  The day is not too far away, when Carey will be opening branches in order to spread out into the outskirts of Colombo.

"Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God."  With God's grace and the commitment of each and every individual who had been and who is currently attached to Carey College, nothing was and nothing shall ever be impossible for Carey."


Of American idols and our household

The entire family is agog over the contest to choose an American idol. Wednesday evening engagements are changed over to another day, studies and whatever work is whizzed through at top speed, so as to be on time to view the programme.

My sister even cancels her business meetings so that she could watch it. Of course, that's not the excuse she gives people, it would sound most un-business-like! If she does happen to be out, we have to keep sending her text messages to keep her updated. Anyway, I think this is one programme that the whole family enjoys. We gravely sit like a panel of judges, criticising each contestant, as if our opinion counted anyway!

Musical statues

Commercial breaks are used to help ourselves to food, drink and whatever else needs to be done. So the minute the break comes up, there is a flurry of activity, rather like a game of musical statues. Here, we sit still once the music starts.

Some of our friends were here on holiday from overseas. Their daughter returned before them because she had to get back to work. She was anxious, thinking she would miss that week's Idol programme, and kept calculating the time to see if she'd be able to make it back home so she wouldn't miss any of it.

When she returned, she found, to her fury, that she couldn't tune in to the relevant channel. Her father had re-tuned the channels in her absence, and forgotten to inform her. Just like a man! So she called her parents from there in a frenzy, because she thought she wouldn't be able to watch it. They had to instruct her from here how to tune in, and finally she only missed a few minutes. It was a close call, both parents heaved a sigh of relief, or else they wouldn't have heard the end of it! Such is the great power of this enticing programme!

Popular local version

Apparently the local version here is very popular too, and these watchers are absolutely hooked too. One of my friends said that when a popular contestant had met with an accident, her daughter begged to be taken to hospital to visit him. Her husband had promised to take a friend and her to see him the next day, but had forgotten as he had a lot of work.

Her daughter went on strike and bitterly accused her father of never keeping his promises, of being very unreliable, she only asked him to take her once in a while etc. She then gave him the Silent Treatment, and cold-shouldered him. He felt so guilty that he came back home early from work the next day, and despite the pouring  rain, took both girls to hospital to visit this boy. So this programme is addictive as well, driving people to do rash things!

So far, I have had guests over to dinner twice on Wednesdays, and of course, we simply couldn't miss our weekly treat. That would have been intolerable! Anyway, I was perfectly willing to have them over on another day of the week, but they weren't free. So I had to say, sorry, but we can't miss out on this. You have to have dinner whilst watching American Idol, I informed them.

Anyway, I must say both parties enjoyed watching the show. We were supposed to take them out to dinner, but when we heard it was a Wednesday, I immediately decided to do something at home. It's quite interesting to note different people's opinions as well. Various points of view are brought out. You get to know their preferences in music, which otherwise you might not have known about. There is certainly no dearth of conversation, everybody is quite vocal and forthcoming with their opinions! So this is educative as well!

Temporary insanity

Anyway, the Caveman has dug out his MP3 player which we presented him a year ago. Very frankly, I hadn't a clue what this piece of equipment was, my kids had to educate me. They were suitably disgusted with me. So at intervals we suddenly hear bursts of strange sounds in an unknown language.

It's quite comical because you can only hear snatches of sound and you have no backing music to help identify the tune, it just sounds like someone yelling in different keys. The kids look questioningly at me. 'Temporary insanity,' I say. This situation is totally acceptable. A regular occurrence in our household!

- Honky Tonk Woman


A study of discipline

By Ranee Mohamed

"When I walk into class it is compulsory that books are kept opened and the students are ready to receive me. When I walk in, I expect them to stand up and greet me, in return, I will greet them. The only talking is with me," Somabandhu Kodikara said on Thursday to over 100 international school teachers.

Somabandhu Kodikara, headmaster of Gateway College has had considerable international exposure, the most significant among which is being the principal of the Sri Lankan school in Muscat. But be it in Muscat or in Borella, Kodikara's theories on education and discipline are simple yet effective, his expectations great, yet realised.

Yes we can

Stressing on the 'Yes, we can,' motto this postive educationist spoke of the importance of eliminating the word 'no' and 'not' from the jargon of educational environment. "No and can't must be deleted from the memory," he told the teachers.

Kodikara cited an example of a 'Do not walk around' notice in a classroom in the United Kingdom; yet a study had found that it was the students in this particular class that walked around the most. "Tell a child what you want him or her to do - not what you do not want him to do," said Kodikara.

Quoting from Prof. Dobson's book Dare To Discipline, Kodikara said that disciplining children might may make parents angry, the  management may find fault or the children themselves may get angry, thus pointing out the fact that discipline could be  a daring exercise. Yet he stressed that the standards of behaviour ought to be clear cut and non-ambiguous.

Non-violent approach

Yet despite all this stress on discipline,  Kodikara's modern day definition of discipline is non-violent, it does not involve beating  children, knocking them on their heads, shaking them, slapping them, in fact it does not even involve getting angry with them or losing control. In fact, this headmaster goes on to tell the teachers; "Do not punish children by sending them out of class. In this way they miss out  their lessons. Make them stand behind the class, if really necessary," he pointed out. Thus considerate, thus student-friendly is Kodikara's  discipline.

"Every child has a right to learn. No one has the right to turn it upside down or disrupt it, not even the heads of schools, not the principal, nor the teachers,"  he stressed.

Headmaster Somabandhu Kodikara's assertive discipline is compassionate. It has the student in mind and the betterment of his future. It takes into consideration the moulding of an exemplary individual. Sadly today, many teachers tend to show emotions, get their personal feelings involved - their angers, annoyances and their likes and dislikes involved when disciplining children.

Yet  Kodikara draws the curtain of a more refined form of discipline, one that is solely formulated and represented in the interests of the child at heart. "You do not realise that every child has a right to learn," he told the teachers.

In a heartening new approach, Kodikara went on to say that teachers ought to use positive recognition to encourage appropriate behaviour. "Use positive recognition to increase self esteem, create a positive classroom environment," he said. "When something good happens, catch that and praise," stressed Kodikara in a direct antithesis to the olden trends that look for faults and failings  in children in order to cane them.

"Catch a child being good, catch a child doing something extra-ordinarily good," he said. Kodikara was referring especially to children on whom others look down upon. "Be alert to praise him or her," he said and went on to relate the story in the book of The Girl By The Window: "This child who was thrown out of several schools goes into a school where the principal was always praising her. The principal kept telling her that she is good, and she really believed that she was good," related Kodikara as the teachers looked in awe.

In the same breath however, this headmaster of the Gateway College which educates over 6,000 students today said "never ignore indisciplined behaviour, yet never get angry, violent or harsh but act calmly. If a student uses a bad word, do not get excited, do not get angry or  lose control of yourself, then the child may have achieved what he really expected to achieve," said Kodikara.  That holds good not only for teachers, but for parents too.

Assertive discipline

Stressing on the need for assertive discipline, Kodikara said that it is so simple that one might think it cannot be true. "In the 1970s Lee Canter introduced a new approach in establishing classroom discipline which is now practised across the Western world. His approach in a nutshell is "to catch the students being good," said  Kodikara.

Kodikara explained that assertive teachers make their expectations clearly known to the students, parents as well as school administrators. That they set achievable standards and calmly insist that students comply with the expectations and achieve the standards. That they back up their words with reasonable and appropriate actions and when students choose to comply, they receive positive benefits. "Assertive discipline is a very simple process. It is about choice. It is a choice offered to students to decide on their behaviour, knowing the consquences.

"It is not just about consequences but also about reward and positive recognition," said  Kodikara showing both teachers and parents in this country a revolutionary, kinder and a more discliplined approach.


Take away the tears and help this baby to live

By Risidra Mendis

It was the happiest day of their lives. As they  held their little bundle of joy in their arms for the first time - B. K. Shantha Kumara and his wife S. Maheshi became the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy on May 27. 2005.

The first cries of their new born baby at the Mahamodera Hospital only added to the excitement of Kumara and his wife. As far as the parents were concerned they had a healthy baby boy whom they named B. K. Saumya Mahisha. However Kumara and Maheshi's joy and excitement of becoming the proud parents of a baby boy was soon to be shattered.

Dr. Sandya Kodikarachchi who examined the new baby detected a strange noise in the baby's heart. Dr. Kodikarachchi had no choice but to break the sad news to the proud parents. "We could not believe what happened to our baby boy. Dr. Kodikarachchi gave me a letter and told me to take the baby to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital. The doctor at the Karapitiya  Hospital told me that Mahisha has to undergo two heart operations to save his life," Kumara said.

According to Kumara when Mahisha cries his lips and the tips of his nails get blue. Baby Mahisha was then brought to the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital and examined by Dr. P. A. Gooneratne. "The doctor gave us a letter and told us the first operation would cost Rs. 600,000. With the greatest difficulty I managed to collect the money within three months and went back to the hospital. The doctor told me that baby Mahisha would be put on the waiting list and would have to wait till 2008 to do the operation. I was told by the doctor that if I could pay Rs. 1,250,000 I could have the operation done at a private hospital soon," explained Kumara.

Kumara had no choice but to start collecting money for baby Mahisha's operation. On May 10, 2005 baby Mahisha was admitted to a paying ward and was operated on May 13 2005.

Baby Mahisha's condition improved after the first operation. However if baby Mahisha is to lead a normal life like any other baby he needs to undergo the second heart operation this month.

"My baby still has a slight noise in his heart when breathing. The doctor told me that once the second operation is done my baby would be fine. The Sri Jayewardenapura hospital has agreed to do the operation at a cost of Rs. 350,000. We are a poor family. Where are we to find such money," Kumara said. Kumara is an electrician by profession and also works as a helper in masonry work. But due to his baby's heart condition Kumara has not been able to continue his work on a regular basis.

"I do a few odd jobs in the village. My family in Matara helps me in whatever way they could. But if I am to save my baby's life this operation needs to be done this month. But I do not have the money to save my baby's life," Kumara said. Kumara's only hope lies on the generous donations of the public to save his baby's life.  All donations could be sent to the National Savings Bank Akuressa to account No. 1- 0055 - 60 - 31480. 


Correct eating  for a healthy body  and calm mind

By Shezna Shums

Eating nutritious food, in correct quantities and on time will help to ensure a healthy body and calm mind.

Because whatever one eats it definitely affects both the body and mind of a person. Foods and drink that we consume, affects both our short term health as well as our long term health condition.

Skin condition, hair strength, nail strength and basically your whole body depends on what you consume. Therefore it is absolutely essential that you have a nutritious diet to stay in shape, to be healthy and to ensure that the older you get the less number of problems you would face.

Having a nutritious diet should not only include dairy products, meats, vegetables and fruits, but it is equally important that the diet also includes whole grains, seeds, fish and oils, be it vegetable oil or any other type.

When having rice and curry it should be noted that eating more vegetables is healthier than having more rice. This type of change should be gradual and you would definitely notice you are much fitter after consuming more vegetables over white rice.

You should also eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while also trying to reduce your intake of saturated fat that could be found in processed foods.

Other items to reduce  are sweets and salt - overuse of these are bad for health, for both the short term and long term health of a person.

Also when eating  nutritious food it should always be consumed in a controlled manner.

Overeating, be they good food or bad food is in no way healthy. And also it is better to eat five smaller  portions of meals a day rather than three huge meals and snacking in between.

And for someone who is trying to reduce weight it is important to avoid snacking, especially between meals when you get a craving.

The only option here would be not to have snacks lying around the house - just don't keep biscuits, sweets, aerated drinks, chocolates - even in small quantities lying around. Because if they are at home, you would definitely nibble on them, but if there is nothing around, you are not likely to eat junk food and gradually helps to avoid eating odd foods in-between meals.

In the process of reducing weight it is natural to feel hungry and you should get used to this, because eating to fill these odd hunger pangs is the main reason for adding those extra pounds.

It is important to have a strong will when eating, so as to stop overeating and nibbling on snacks.

You have to eat well to look good and the other factor that plays an important part is regular exercise.

To ensure that you get all of the calories, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need, you should also choose from a wide range of foods which would also help make your meals more interesting.

Cook different vegetables everyday and try to introduce more red rice to your diet rather than having just white rice.

Some foods that are nutritious are   citrus fruits, peas, beans, legumes, honey, lean meats, soya, vegetables, barley, brown rice, fish, beetroot, carrots, herbs and ginger, garlic and onions as well as spices and plenty of water.


Perth Diary

Operation mouse hunt

I think I am being haunted by the ghost of a mouse. You see, I've moved house and now I have mice that have taken up residence under the floorboards (and on walls as the ever so knowledgeable partner informs me).

I have no problem with the mice except when they give me a heart attack by darting across right in front of me when I might just step on them. As I whined so often to everyone I knew the stock reply was: "They are only doing what nature intended them to." But mice are vermin and they could carry diseases so they must go. We did catch one and he was so adorably cute that we had to drop him at a park instead of dispatching him.

The boyfriend was all for getting mousetraps, but I didn't want to kill any and we were living in false hope for a bit that it was just one random mouse. It wasn't. I don't have any mouseholes - they don't need them. They can squeeze through the tiniest cracks in the skirting. The flat I live in is the upstairs section of half a revamped company building built in the 1890s. It's huge and rambling with old brickwork and lots of cracks and atmosphere.

So inevitably at some point, someone is going to come around to plaster  up the cracks. In the meantime I have been deliberating over whether or not to put down mousetraps. A friend said it was painless - a  snap of the neck and it's done. So I plugged for mousetraps all the while thinking on Tom and Jerry and the cute mouse we relocated to the park. It was an ethical dilemma for me - how could I kill cockroaches that invade my territory and mosquitoes but not want to kill mice?

The difference

I think the distinction was that the mice did not make a nuisance of themselves. They didn't annoy me or make anything more difficult for me. They can't climb up anything to run across things and spread germs and they couldn't get any of our food.  If it was a rat, I would have hammered it immediately.  Rats are quite a different matter altogether. But these were just mice. Mice like the ones you get in pet shops that run around on little wheels all day long and are really quite boring. Our ones liked doing marathons and were far more interesting to watch. Zip!

From the crack they came out of, behind the couch and then speeding down the corridor.  I had no end of jokes from all sorts of people. No end of suggestions either. Had I tried finding anyone with a pet snake for example?  If I didn't want to kill them with the mousetraps, why would I feed them to pet snakes? Had I got a cat?

Cat is for life not just for mice catching. It's bad enough they play with the geckoes. Eventually I had to agree on the mousetraps. The boyfriend jumped in glee and started regaling me with a childhood story about helping to catch and squish dead a whole colony of mice that had been hiding inside a barn somewhere. Even his sister who usually seems to be just as upset about killing things unfairly, didn't seem to support me on this.  The shopping trip yielded no mouse traps, just poison. No clean quick snap of the neck death for these mice.

Painful death

For no reason other than humans wanting them dead, mice living naturally have to die in the worst way, in pain due to poisoning. The poison was set down, one right next to my desk and I had to sit there at my computer knowing that not only would there be lots of mice dying in agony unseen around me but that looking down at every rustle meant that I would see a mouse running from the crack in the wall to the poison and back. Part of me wants to yell so that they would know not to eat it. Getting a cat seems a much better alternative sometimes, but only slightly.

I wouldn't mind a cat but the boyfriend thinks having one that can't venture outdoors would be an useless idea. And honestly, if it was of the mind to hunt the mice down, it would be merciless, which is not what I would like to see too much of. They hunt anything just for the fun of it - reminds me a lot of our species sometimes. Wicked, wicked creatures, though I love them so. Besides, my current cat in Colombo, is exactly like me. Too lazy to bother, she'd look at me pityingly if I asked to hunt anything down: "You haven't got it yet, have you?  I don't do the hunting bit."

Why hunt when you don't need to?  Why clean up when the boyfriend can? Seriously though, I know the mice can be terrible if in a voracious colony, eating everything in their path. And the cats don't seem to worry about ethics too much when dangling geckoes from their claws - they do it just to bug you, I am sure.

But humans are the same. Ever since we walked upright, we've expanded our territory and every single time we moved somewhere, mass extinctions of species followed in our wake. Nature doesn't have a set of ethics. We've created one to control ourselves but do we stick to it? I don't know but I know that I am now wondering if I am going to be haunted in my dreams by the squeaks of the dead.

- Marisa Wikramanayake


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