29th October,  2006 Volume 13, Issue 16

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                                    


Celebrating world tourism day in a special way

Over 25 years in the music scene, Nalin and the Star Combination has no regrets that Nalin gave up a career in the hotel trade in order to pursue a music career. Joining a resort hotel in 1975, working as well as performing for the hotel's resident band, he left Sri Lanka in 1980 to Doha Qatar, where he joined QGPC hotels / clubs division and formed his own band with four other Indian musicians.

The band spectrum, which was quite popular, played for the first ever Sri Lankan night dance in Doha, Qatar at Ramada Hotel 1983. Nalin was one of the pioneers who captained the Lanka Lions cricket team, which played many a tournament from 1980 to 1986. After making Lanka proud in Qatar, he returned to Sri Lanka in 1986. Meeting Chandimal Fernando made everything turn right. Pioneers in the 'one man orchestra scene' Chandimal and Nalin became one of the most popular bands in town, playing at weddings  and many leading events.

Nalin later ventured to form his own band. Nalin and the Star Combination, which formed in 1995 found further success in the music industry. Handling female vocals, Nalin's wife Shirmila is a talented musician giving  him all the encouragement and backing.

Incidentally Shirmila  Fonseka is the daughter of radio and TV artiste, the late C.D. Fonseka.

The group is supported by versatile key boardist, ex Gypsies musician Dilantha Silva, talented vocalist and guitarist Hirushika Fernando and talented drummer Gayan Weerakoon. "I always make sure that my clients are satisfied at all times with extremely wide repotoire that streches from contemporary chart hits to the golden oldies," said Nalin. They have given their audiences many moments of musical happiness, throughout the years.

"Giving out the best in music is our motto," he concluded.        

Golden Chimes releases new DVD

By Nirmala Kannangara

The longest surviving Sinhala pop band - for the last three and a half decades, the Golden Chimes released their 35th anniversary 'GoldenChimes-Then and Now - Live in Concert' DVD recently.

The concert, which was a re-union with all the past members on one stage to bring memories alive, was held last December at the BMICH to celebrate the 35 years.

Thirty-Four very popular songs from the Golden Chimes, including six English hits are included in the DVD with the live performance on the stage. It is released under the Torana Label and is available at all leading outlets. 

History and customs of  Halloween

By Sunalie Ratnayake

The word 'Halloween' itself actually has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of 'All Hallows Eve'. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or 'All Saints Day'), is a Catholic day of observance in honour of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic, Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New Year.

One story says that, on that day, the disem-bodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife.

The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.

Frightening the spirits

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was not to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes could relight their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was kept burning in the Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.

Romans adopting practices

The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own. But in the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honour Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants, fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favourite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.


The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for 'soul cakes,' made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors.

Jack - o - lantern

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree.

Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree. According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally. But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

So, although some cults may have adopted Halloween as their favourite 'holiday,' the day itself did not grow out of evil practices. It grew out of the rituals of Celts celebrating a new year.

Blacker: An amazing author

By Kshanika Argent

Born in Colombo, David Blacker has lived in Sri Lanka almost all of his life. He served as an enlisted soldier in the Sri Lanka Army in the early 1990s, seeing combat as a nineteen-year-old rifleman at Elephant Pass. A Cause Untrue, published by PH Books and available at all leading bookshops, is Blacker's debut novel and was short listed for the Graetian Prize in 2004.

 Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

A: I studied at Wesley College and basically grew up in Colombo. A fairly typical middle-class upringing, I guess. I was pretty shy as a child, and so books were an easy refuge. I did play sports for school. After school it was straight into the Sri Lankan army, and after leaving the army, I spent quite a few years in advertising as an art director. I currently live in Germany with my wife and three year old son Eric.    

Q : When did you first realise that you were a writer?

A: Looking back I realise that I've always wanted to write. And A Cause Untrue was a premise that was on my mind for years. I wanted to be able to write about the war in Sri Lanka, but there just was no hook to hang it on. It isn't a war that's relevant in a geo-political context. We're not Iraq, Afganistan or Northern Ireland. But after 9/11, terrorism was on everyone's doorstep, and it gave me a realistic way of making an international plot of it.

Q: Who was the most influential author you have read?

A: I've always loved thrillers and I'd have to say that the styles of Gerald Seymour and Terrence Strong are probably my favourites. But I read almost anything from Kipling to modern day stuff. Military history is also a hobby for me, so I'm always reading some soldier's biography, or the history of a particular war.

Q: Have any local authors inspired you in any way?

A: I wasn't a big fan of local writers, which is still true to a certain extent, simply because I wasn't interested in the genres that they were producing. I simply didn't give much of a toss about family tales from the 'good old days,' which seemed to be the bulk of it. There were no fun stories.

Carl Muller's Yakada Yaka was the first Sri Lankan book I read, which I loved. Nihal Silva's The Road From Elephant Pass was actually inspiring in the sense that it introduced me to a totally new genre of Sri Lankan novel - the modern adventure.

When he won the Gratiaen Prize, it was an eye-opener for me to the fact that there was a local market for this. A Cause Untrue was in manuscript form at the time, and the success of The Road from Elephant Pass encouraged me to enter it for the Gratiaen and thus, it was shortlisted. 

Q: What are your experiences with publishers and agents?

A: I don't think there are any proper literary agents here, the way there are in Europe or North America, where they actually play a role in the vetting process that brings authours of fiction in contact with a publisher, which is a great pity. The majority of Sri Lankan writers either publish themselves, or finance the publication through a publisher. So there isn't too much critical acclaim, and a potential reader has to wade through this morass of crap to actually find a gem, and there are quite a few of these. There's no proper organisation to set the standards. However, publishers like PH Books - my publisher - are doing a lot to raise standards and ensure that the stuff they put out is good. Being short listed for the Gratien helped me a great deal in getting A Cause Untrue published. I didn't have to look for a publisher, but had several knocking on my door.

Q: Tell us a bit about A Cause Untrue and how much work went into that.

A: Even though the idea of the book was floating around in my mind for years, I took about seven months to write A Cause Untrue, the bulk of it while I was living in Germany. The basic story is pretty universal, and it is of brave people fighting for causes that are not worthy of the courage and sacrifice these individuals display.

This is sometimes true of the loftiest ideals that sometimes fall short, because of inconvenient practicalities. I quote Oscar Wilde, that "A cause is not necessarily true because a man dies for it," and that's certainly a running theme. The plot starts off with 9/11 and the discovery that Sri Lankan terrorists had a hand in it. This pushes Western nations to clamp down on the Tigers, triggering more attacks and tougher countermeasures. Things escalate, with the war over here becoming an international problem, and well, I'll leave the rest up for you to read.

Q: Do you have any advice to fledgling authors?

A: Try to get your stuff out there, and in the public eye as much as possible.

Mesmerising world of modified cars

By The Knight

The heavy noise on the middle of the road, which makes the earth shake also makes every person turn around and look and most of the times we are captivated by the appearance of the vehicle.

Sometimes, it looks as if it does not belong to this world, but it does.

We are talking about cars, which are modified according to the taste of the user.

Some of the features in a modified car do not come from the factory, but fixed locally. The extra fittings and the flashy appearance instantly attracts the people on the road and get their attention.

The modified cars have become a craze amongst the youngsters these days, especially, among the guys.

Even a guy who is not interested in motor vehicles would get turned on at the sight of a properly modified car. Well, there are certain people who go for the appearance, while some go for the interior. Yet, both are of equal importance.

"The appearance is the main factor, because, the people look at the outside of a car. The colour of the body and trim are some of the stuff that could be changed and made catchy," said Ronald, one of those dudes crazy over modified cars.

Well, these modified cars can also be used for totally different purposes. The guys get to show off their flashy cars and most of the times succeed in getting the attention of the opposite sex.

"A modified car makes all the youngsters pause for a second and stare at it. I have a few female friends who like my car," Ronald added.

Most of them went for the appearance of the car, while adding the interior also was important.

"Obviously, the first impression is created when we look at it for the very first time. The modification inside the vehicle is also important, but I would go for the external looks," said Priya.

So what is meant by modifying a car, in the first place? Almost the entire outlook of the car is changed when it is modified.

The colour, the buffer, the rim and even the appearance of the side mirrors are changed.

Seated inside a modified car sometimes gives the impression that you are in a studio or in a cockpit of a plane, with many gadgets fixed even to the steering wheel.

Well, it seems that there is no lack of ideas as far as modifying cars are concerned. At least they add colour to the Sri Lankan roads.

Luscious lipsticks and vivacious nail enamel

By Risidra Mendis

They come in all shades of the rainbow. Blue, green, purple, magenta, red, pink, brown, black and white. The variety of colours available in the market, when it comes to lipstick and nail polish is endless.

For those of you who may never have used these colours of the rainbow, now is the time to try them out. Lipsticks and nail polish are available at many gift shops, cosmetics outlets and even the pavements in the country. While the price range differs from one place to another the new shades keep increasing day by day.

Now Magazine takes a look at the wide variety of shades available and gives you some tips on what colours you should use during the day and night.

At Oriflame Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., a wide range of lipstick and nail polish in vibrant colours in light and dark shades are available. The long wear gloss coat, quick fix base coat, French manicure in seven shades, visions quick dry top-coat and the nail polish quick dry in 30 shades are available here.

Among the different types of lipsticks are the visions lipstick in 18 shades, which contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, the moisturising lipstick in six shades, the vivid lipstick that is a 3 D intensity lipstick, which is available in 10 shades, the urban lip style that comes in six shades is a moisturising long wear lipstick, the maxi shine lipstick in six shades, which is a shiny lipstick, and the rejuven lipstick in nine ravishing shades, which is a 40% volume boosting anti ageing lipstick.

The Rejuven lipstick reduces superficial wrinkles by 29%, increases hydration by 60%, increases lip volume by 40% and contains over 40% active moisturising ingredients of johoba avocado and Vitamin A. The Oriflame colour long wear lip definer provides long lasting moisturising and perfectly defines lips.

The Oriflame colour long wear gloss coat, when applied, dries in 60 seconds. The nail polish lasts three times longer. The Oriflame colour long wear nail polish lasts up to seven days with the topcoat. Coral seaweed extract is included for stronger nails, in this.  

At Janet Cosmetics (Pvt) Ltd., a wide range of lipsticks and nail polish in many colours is available. All lipstick and nail polish is made out of natural ingredients. The matt lipstick is available in five shades, the creamy lipstick in 22 shades, the frosted lipstick 15 shades, the diamond lipstick in eleven shades, the sheer lipstick in seven shades and the wet shine lipstick in seven shades includes Janet's array of lipsticks.

The nail polish colours at Janet's Cosmetics include the French manicure colours and 76 shades. The frosted nail polish comes in 50 shades, the matt nail polish in 12 shades and the metallic nail polish in 14 shades. The nail polish has a built in base coat, which is an added benefit to the customer.

Speaking to The Now Magazine, Janet Cosmetics' Sherine Fernando said the lipsticks are made by keeping in mind the different tastes of ladies in the country. "We have a wide range of colours to suit ladies of all ages. For those of you who prefer the simple and plain colours, the matt lipstick is suitable. The frosted shades have a shine on the lipstick, while the diamond shades have a glitter on the lipstick. When the lipstick is used, the shine or glitter is vissible," Fernando said.

Fernando stressed that the latest lipstick introduced by Janets is the sheer lipstick shades. "Light pinks and natural colours are in fashion these days. The sheer shine, diamond glitter and wet shine lipsticks are also in fashion and popular among the fashion conscious these days. Janet's clear shine lip conditioner can be used under your lipstick or as a lipstick colour if required," explained Fernando.

She went on to say that, during the day, it is advisable to wear very pale and light coloured or pastel shade lipstick and nail polish, and dark coloured lipsticks such as the diamond shine glitter lipstick and nail polish for night functions. "However there are some ladies who wear dark coloured lipstick and nail polish during the day. There is nothing wrong in wearing dark colours during the day if you can carry it off well," Fernando said.

According to Fernando your fingernails and toenails should be the same colour. There are ladies who use a different nail polish colour for their toenails and fingernails. "Here again, there is nothing wrong in using two colours if the person is comfortable with it. But it is very important that you match the nail polish and lipstick colours with your outfit," explained Fernando.

An experienced beautician from Ramzi's Salon says reds and pinks are in fashion when it comes to nail polish and lipstick. "All shades of dark and shocking pinks are in fashion these days. But not everyone can wear dark and shocking pinks. Depending on your complexion, you have to be careful when using shades of pink. Shades of reds on the other hand suit most skin complexions," the beautician said.

The beautician added that, during the day, peach colours and shades of light pink should be used. Some people use dark colours during the day and are quite used to it. For a dark skin complexion, earth colours are ideal. For a medium skin complexion or an ivory colour skin any shade of lipstick and nail polish is suitable," the beautician said.

So, the next time all you ladies, young or old are out there in search of lipsticks and nail polish that undoubtedly brightens up your spirits, keep these valuable tips in mind.

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