is not a special day for Sri Lankans"
into Willoruwatte and ask for Tennyson Cooray and people begin
to gather around you to give directions to his house. Cooray
lives in a beautiful home
and drives a sleek vehicle. "But I did not want to become
a doctor, pilot or engineer," says this actor cum
comedian proudly. Merennghe Edward Tennyson Cooray has the
amazing ability to make people laugh with his mere presence.
As he sits back on his white sofa, he gives us a different
tint to the more serious problems of life
What will you do in the event of a bomb blast?
I believe in honesty and I always try to achieve recognition
in life. If there is a bomb blast I will rush to the scene and
look around to see if there are any more bombs. If I find
three more, I will take them and rush to the defence
establishment, then they will recognise me and honour me and
perhaps give me a padakkama (medal).
What if one of them explodes on the way?
Then I will tell the authorities that there were only two.
It's common sense, can't a journalist understand how to handle
a simple situation like that?
What is the reason for the prevailing hot weather?
It is because of the anger and the fire in the hearts of
the people. All the angry words and the hatred have
contributed to make it too hot for us to live with each other.
Will there be another tsunami, if so what will happen to Sri
I think another
tsunami will bring more business to this country. I personally
think that tsunamis are bad; but judging by past experience,
aid will flow, much money will exchange hands and there will
be many new businesses flourishing again..
Will Sri Lanka win the World Cup?
Yes, we definitely will, by the way we are performing. I
think that we all ought to celebrate if we do win
the World Cup this time. For we can put the World Cup
to good use. Winning the World Cup means that Sri Lanka will
take the spotlight, so we can use it to achieve peace in Sri
Lanka. We can offer the cup to the LTTE and tell them, if you
stop the war, we will give you the cup and they can't say 'no'
because the world will be looking at our negotiation. Also, I
am disappointed that the World Cup we won in 1996 is not put
to good use. We ought to use this at least to fill wine at
am also a cricketer, I played cricket in our school team, then
our principal saw my ability and split the whole team, and
abolished cricket in the school.
Why is there so much animal cruelty in the country? Why do
people ignore the hundreds of starving cats and dogs?
I agree that there is much animal cruelty in the country.
No one cares for the starving animals. I have thought about
this problem. I think, dogs and cats ought to band together
and appoint their own leader. Then they will appoint a good
and forceful dog, with a fierce bark as the leader, then this
leader can take up their problems of starvation and housing
with the authorities. He will have to walk the streets
everyday because sometimes people in government institutions
are either having tea or on leave. Anyway the
dog leader will have to
remain on the streets waiting for things to happen.
Have you ever been to a abattoir in Sri Lanka and seen the
cruel conditions therein?
Yes, I have been
to abattoirs and have been horrified by the conditions. I
thought to myself that we are the animals to be eating the
flesh of these starved, traumatised beings.
Will life improve for the average Sri Lankan?
Yes, it definitely will, if he goes overseas.
Can you define a journalist.
To me a person who is on a journey with a list in his
hand is a journalist. There are several types of award winners
in this country. Among them are those who make aththa, neththa
(distorts truth), makes neththa athatha (creates untruths),
and then there are those who work for both sides. Of these,
those who play the double role are the most benefited
materially of course. There are yet a handful of others who
write the complete truth, and it is for them that life is
always difficult, always dangerous.
What do you have to say about the closure of newspapers and
the muffling of the media?
I think closing down newspapers is not a hit at journalists.
Journalist Parameshwari was taken into custody and then
released, it made her a heroine. I think all journalists who
suffer eventually become heroes in the hearts and minds of the
people. A journalists will always be a journalist, no one can
take that away. But closing down a newspaper clearly means
that the government wants to hit the common man - the kadala
seller, the fisherman and the
butcher and those who do not have towels to wipe their
hands and feet.
Do you think this LTTE problem is being handled
No, I don't think so. Guns can't solve the problem. Its
simple, common sense, you have to clear the jungles. We don't
need guns for that, perhaps some mammoties will do.
I can see that you are getting ready to go to Korea, Canada
and the USA for dramas. Are you scared of flights?
No I am not scared of flying. I am only frightened about
doing dramas here in Sri Lanka, because I am scared to walk
What's your goal in life?
My goal is to become a swimming champion.
So, why don't you try for the championship?
Because I can't swim and I am scared of water.
How can we be happy in life?
The only way to be happy in life in this country is to do
something every evening to forget about what has happened
during the day and what will be happening at the dawn of the
How do we handle the country's garbage problem?
There is no need to handle it. I think it is something to
do with tourism. I think all the
mayors have got together and made a policy decision to
keep the garbage the way it is kept today. They may have
thought that it is best to keep garbage dumps all over the
road so that foreigners will know that we are eating bananas,
cheese and other canned foods and also packets of
sausages and biscuits and also that we have enough rice to
through away in our buth packets. Otherwise, these foreigners
might think that we are another Somalia or Ethiopia.
Market in a soup
to the rising cost
of living not only the consumers but also the traders at the
city's trading hub - the Manning Market are suffering
immensely. Apart from a drop in their daily income, the
traders and vendors complain of the lack of basic facilities
at the market which have compelled most of them to stay away
from business as the situation is going from bad to worse.
the Manning Market to a filthy hell during the rainy season
with heaps of rotten vegetables and fruits all over, the
traders complained that the Colombo Municipal Council does not
do a proper job in removing the garbage.
people could come here during the dry season nobody wants to
step into the Manning Market during the rainy season because
of the stink and more over because of the mud puddles all
over. Even inside the market people have to be under
umbrellas," claimed the vendors.
it starts pouring before the New Year then we will have to do
odd jobs to look after our families. How on earth can we
expect people to come to a place where even the basic
facilities are not provided although we pay rates"
complain these suffering vendors.
to these sellers although there is a drop in income these days
it will be much worse during the rainy season. The wholesale
and retail traders when asked told The Sunday Leader that
their income has gone down of late and that it has affected
their families and also the lives of their helpers.
to these vendors the best times of the year
where they could expect a good income is during the
coming New Year season and the Christmas season.
are some of the woes of the vegetable sellers at Manning
Market and Fifth Cross Street in Pettah;
retail vegetable seller at the Manning Market for the last 40
years Handunge said that he is suffering huge losses for the
past one and a half months due to the drop in customers.
asked as to why there is a sharp drop Handunge told The Sunday
Leader that there are many reasons for this. "The main
reason is that people do not want to come to Colombo because
of the unsafe security situation and also the high bus fares.
They opt to buy the stuff from a nearby boutique paying a
little more than spending on bus fare. These are the main
reasons for the drop in business. This has affected our
families as well. Apart from this most people still believe
that the vegetable prices are still high as it was in January,
which was due to the floods in the hill country," said
travels daily from Blomendhal Road in Kotahena to the Manning
Market for his retail business said that although there is a
drop in business at present he still manages to sell his
stock, invariably at a lower price. "The prices of
vegetable have now gone down. But still the general public may
be thinking the prices are high. Some times I have to give
away the vegetables at the same price we buy from the
wholesale market. Most of the time after 10 am I am compelled
to sell the vegetables at a lower price," Sarath who is
in this business for the last 15 years told The Sunday Leader.
pumpkin wholesale trader who has been engaging in this
business from the 'old market' days, Perumal said that most of
the time he has to give away the pumpkins at a very much lower
price and there are days that he incurs losses. "During
the dry season the inflow of pumpkins is very high and due to
this reason the prices have now gone down. I have five to six
people to help me in this business so at a time like that they
too have to bear the losses with me," added Perumal.
prices of onions and potatoes have gone down and our daily
income too has gone down. At the end of the day it is our
families that have to suffer," Kumar claimed.
have four helpers in my business and due to the prevailing
prices of vegetables in the market there is a drop in the
number of customers coming into the Manning Market as they
could purchase goods from their towns at a lower price. Though
they know that here they could buy fresh vegetables they opt
for even old vegetables from the pavements. When my income is
affected my helpers' day-to-day income too drops
sharply," added Gunaratne who has his small boutique on
Fifth Cross Street in Pettah.
dried fish vendor for the past 12 years, Vasantha told The
Sunday Leader that her's is a profitable business. According
to Vasantha she never incurs losses. "Earlier it was my
husband who did this business. But since his death now I am
doing this to give an education to my three daughters. Unlike
vegetables, dried fish never gets rotten. If the vegetable
vendors fail to sell their stock within a day they have to
incur losses. But I am happy to do this business as the stock
could be kept at least for a week," Vasantha added.
jack seller from Mahawatte, Menike said that she has been
engaging in this job for the past 40 years. She had started by
helping her mother when she was 12 years old. "There are
some days that I get a good income but most of the time i just
break even. I buy a jackfruit for Rs. 70- 80 these days.
Usually I buy about 10 fruits each day from the people who
bring it from the outstations. Almost everyday I have to throw
away at least three fruits, as by evening they become ripe. If
they are 'waraka' I still could sell but most of the time I
get 'wela' hence I have to throw them away as there is no
demand for it.
comes to the Manning Market once a week to buy vegetables. She
told The Sunday Leader that she is happy as the vegetable
prices have now gone down. "A few weeks earlier the
prices were very high and we couldn't bear the prices then.
But from last week the prices have gone down unbelievably. I
hope this will continue at least till the New Year time,"
Udaya Kumara said.
it got cut off, I
came out of my own little world to hear people outside my
building rushing towards one end of High Street. I got up,
stood on the couch and tried to look out through the windows
but all I could see was people holding up cameras, their
attention drawn by something happening down the end of the
was happening. I grabbed my cell phone and used the light from
it to navigate my way to my keys and out the front door where
I saw smoke. A lot of smoke. My neighbour leaning over the
wall that was a storey above told me to be careful -
"They have wet down the buildings!" He gave me a
heart attack at first because his voice came out of nowhere.
ran out into High Street. Five buildings away from my building
in a street filled with heritage listed buildings from all
eras of Australia's European settlement history, was The
National Hotel. The National Hotel is a 105 year old building
and it wasn't just on fire, it was blazing. Behind the
barricades was the Fremantle fire brigade trying desperately
to get it under control before it spread to the other
buildings which included two banks, several shops, a
backpackers and my flat.
the street was everyone who was in Fremantle city centre on
that Sunday night. People had left their fancy dinners in the
restaurants on South Terrace and come running, others had left
their television shows, their drinks in the pubs and we were
all standing in the street watching the flames with a feeling
as they poured water from high pressure hoses on the flames,
we wavered between abject terror and relief as the smoke kept
alternating between threatening to blow sparks and cinders
towards the other buildings and moving straight upwards. None
of those who lived on the block were able to go back into
their buildings till everything was over and Western Power
deemed it safe to switch the lights back on.
spent most of Sunday night on the kerb with a cell phone with
a dead battery and my house keys, chatting to various other
Freo residents, shivering as the combined effects of Cyclone
George and it's counterpart made the wind blow towards the
sea, fanning the flames even more. Of all the times for the
weather to decide to be contradictory.
was no one in the building - it had been shut down to be
refurbished and restored so that it could be reopened as a bar
and cafe in eight months time - no one got physically hurt
which was a blessing. But as we all stood there watching open
mouthed unable to tear our eyes away, it hit home.
one can hope to live in Fremantle for long without suddenly
feeling a little territorial - overly protective of this
little port city and its long and colourful history. This is
why the university can get bad press for buying up more
buildings in the West End. This is why small civic issues like
parking rates and spots and where to put a high rise building
matter so much. This is why books on Fremantle's history sell
out so fast and are the Fremantle Arts Centre Press's stock in
last few days have been very subdued. They have barricaded off
part of High Street and Market Street to all except foot
traffic because they are afraid that the facade of the hotel
is unstable and may fall down at any moment. Every single
building in the area has been wet down again. The buses that
usually go down Market Street now have to go down Bannister
and turn down Pakenham - two much narrower streets. South
Terrace hasn't seen as much business as it usually would,
though people are coming down to Fremantle just to look at the
who passes by the National now pauses to look up at it.
Fremantle residents especially. Though the facade remains, the
internal parts of the hotel were gutted and the roof caved in
and we all fear that once the arson investigation is over, the
engineer will recommend that it be pulled down and demolished.
lose something that has been part of the urban landscape for
over a century is like anathema to the city. People like C. J.
Conner and John Curtin probably had drinks in that hotel - it
has been immortalised as part of the city in numerous works of
fiction set in Fremantle by the likes of Tim Winton.
are still human though. We cover up the sense of loss with
humour. As we watched the fire brigade on Sunday night, we
were making jokes. Jokes about why couldn't it have been the
damn carbuncles of 1970's architecture that made up the
offices of the National Australian and Commonwealth Banks next
door rather than a heritage listed building from 1901.
were trying to determine why the brigade wasn't using more
water pressure or whether it was really out or not yet from
what we could see where we were standing behind barricades and
trucks. We were laughing at the propensity of the backpackers
to get drunk in any situation especially when they kept
tripping over the fire hose and tried to take photos of
themselves with the barricade tape across their chests.
found it amusing that when the local paper's photographer
turned up to take photos - he ended up giving a masterclass in
photography techniques to possibly the only sober backpackers
for over an hour and a half. We debated whether it was arson
or not and whether the gossip about the owners being in
financial difficulty was true or not. We waved at my
neighbours who had decided that despite the fact that their
building may go up in flames, they were going to have a few
beers and watch the proceedings from the rooftop terrace. Very
Australian of them I must say.
Sri Lankans wouldn't exactly pop open the esky and have a few
beers when an emergency occurred but they would definitely run
towards the scene and stand around joking and making comments
about what should be done and what should not be done. Whether
that would be to cover up the disbelief, the shock or the
fear, I don't know.
is comforting is that there is that similarity in behaviour
even though I wouldn't expect the average Sri Lankan to get
sentimental about losing a heritage listed building. Maybe we
have a longer history and therefore a longer time to get used
to and accept the fact that things change.
however will now become Fremantle lore - the night the
National burnt down. The big fire of 2007. A century from now
whether the building is gone or not, Sunday night will become
part of Fremantle's history. We were all there, it was just
one building but it will become a story to tell and another
stop on the historical tour.
enough, there is some comfort in that - it may not be here in
a year's time but because it was in some weird intangible way
so important to people, they will remember it.
a beautician is no easy task. One can never force oneself to
become a beautician because it is a profession that requires
dedication, concentration, patience as well as
hard work. To succeed as a beautician one has to have a
natural liking for the field and also a feel for it.
at Thalapathpitiya Siddhartha Vidyalaya had a passion for the
arts, especially arts that would be the results of his own
creative hands. "From my childhood, I was drawn towards
the creative aspect in life. Especially, beauty and creation
obsessed me," the enthusiastic Piyal told The Sunday
was just after completing his ordinary level
that young Piyal stepped into the world of beauty
culture. Little did Piyal know that this initial step he took
without much thought, would also be the turning point in his
life, enabling him to realise his dreams.
had 18 years in the field, Piyal has managed to gain a great
deal of knowledge and experience.
"I am thankful to everyone who helped me along the
way, for without the support of those who encouraged me in the
field, nothing would have been possible," Piyal said with
Piyal's wife, initially
learnt bridal dressing from veteran beautician Premasiri
Hewawasam; and hair cutting and colouring from well-known
beautician Tilaque de Silva. "It was after completing my
ordinary level exam that I cultivated an interest towards
studying all areas in the field under veterans in our country,
I travelled to Dubai and obtained vast experience in the field
by working there, for over four years," Manel said.
in the same field, it was fate that brought these two together
and indeed, it was for the betterment of their lives in every
aspect. Both Manel and Piyal had faced many an obstacle in
attaining fame in the field of beauty culture, but they did
not forget to thank those who lent them a helping hand during
was not easy to get where we are today. A lot of dedication,
patience and hard work had to be put in all through the way.
There are two persons to whom we wish to offer our sincere
thanks. They are Deepika Premaratne and Nomiko Nidharshana who
supported us all along the way," said a grateful Piyal
their dream a reality Piyal and Manel
opened their own salon, Sithmi Salon about five months
believes that a beautician should be professional and creative
in his or her own way. Fashions come and go. Fashions of long
ago, come into vogue again. Things change in the blink of an
the field of beauty culture, I offer my customers the best
possible service. I don't say that I'm the best, but I always
try to do my best. We are successful mainly due to our
clientele and it is important to keep them happy at all times,
despite any odds," said Piyal.
her thoughts on beauty culture and her clients, Manel said,
"A customer can either make or break us. Offering them a
quality service and keeping them satisfied is a key factor in
this business in addition to being professional.
do not try to compete with the maestros in this field, and all
we want is to give a high standard of service to our
is picking up and
we have established new clientele
in the area."
had also taken part in contests such as the Sunsilk Hair and
Beauty Fair held last year, but since the opening of the new
salon, they both have decided to take one step at a time.
First of all, they want to make their foundation strong.
salon is equipped with imported fittings and the best of
brands are used.
though walk-in customers are welcome, considering the
convenience of their clientele, Sithmi Salon operates on prior
and Manel both have the intention of gaining further
experience in the field of beauty culture overseas.
to them, trends are ever changing and it is challenging to
keep up with the current needs of clients.
always make it a point to discuss the needs and requirements
of our customers. It is very important that we listen to them.
However, if we feel that a certain style does not suit a
particular customer, we make sure that we let the customer
don't want to force anything on anyone, but it is our duty to
give our frank opinion and we never take decisions on our own,
but give preference to our customers' likes and
dislikes," said Piyal.
and Manel firmly believe that just because one has completed a
course in beauty culture, one does not become a beautician.
it has become a style for everyone who does a course to call
themselves 'experts' or 'veterans.' In fact, there are only a
handful of veterans in this field. Even with experience
nearing two decades, I still do not wish to call myself a
veteran. There is a lot more to learn and we must learn until
we need at this moment is to concentrate on the business and
build up our own clientele. We want to make our presence felt,
but we have no intention of breaking the clientele of other
beauticians in the field," a humble Piyal said.
addition to hair cuts, perms, colouring, highlighting,
straightening, tints, hair styles, treatments, bridal
dressing, make-up, waxing, threading, manicure, pedicure,
facials, galvanic treatments, bleaching and rebonding,
Manel also takes orders for wedding and birthday cakes
and cake structures having learnt the art of cake
making from Clement a veteran in the field.
Salon offers its services to those of all ages,
ranging from children to youngsters and elderly people
without discrimination. Sithmi Salon certainly is a place rich
in ambition and customer service, where all your beauty needs
could be fulfilled.
The Party is over, and we are left
to limp on! My younger sister
left this morning for the airport almost, but not
quite, immediately from a nightclub. Alas, my elder sister
couldn't join us for this last wild night, she has ended up on
crutches! I'm not joking; both her knees got danced out and
this is the sad ending to her Let Loose and Running Wild
has decided to renew ties with old acquaintances, since for
the last couple of years she has been the Busy Businesswoman
and had no time left for such trivial pursuits. So, those of
you who know her old friends, therein starts the running wild
part. Party animals! For the umpteenth time I've decided that
I have to lose weight before my legs collapse on me.
younger sister had flown down especially for this important
event. Afterwards, they both brainwashed me into leaving my
family overnight for the very first time. What my elder sis
actually said was, " You never know, by the time the
three of us are together again, one of us might be dead!"
I wanted to point out that then there's only two left, but
thought better of it. Anyway, I got the gist of what she was
trying to say. Caveman said, "Go, for God's sake, one
child is alone abroad, surely I can look after the other for
one night?" Ha! More on that later.
sis had booked us into a luxury spa down south. When I heard
the price of the room - shock
and horror! We were supposed to set off early morning, but
when I arrived, Big sis was solving office problems and
settling quarrels adorned in a towel and her hair in rollers!
I had forgotten about that. I was also reminded how she bathes
herself in perfume. This is not an exaggeration!
the way, Little sis checked out a particular shop, which
apparently had got swept off by the tsunami. We then consoled
ourselves by ordering Bloody Marys and Margaritas even though
it was 11 in the morning. Of course, Big sis was recognised by
the staff there, since everywhere she goes she makes an
impact. The less said on that topic the better! We toasted
ourselves as "The Three Witches."
When I informed Beautiful Dreamer what we were doing,
she said, "Very
nice, ah, you mad women! I hope none of you are driving."
at the beautiful hotel, we each had a huge room and equally
large bathroom to ourselves. Big sis had a suite! We were
introduced to our personal butlers, very posh! After lunch,
Big sis had to check on her office in town.
we got back, and I was informed we were going to use the spa.
So we steamed ourselves slowly, and then I was shouted into
the bubbling jacuzzi since I was sure I would slip and break
my neck there. So there we sat, sipping champagne, saying,
"This is the life!"
drank least of all, imagining tipsily tipping over and
breaking something! Then the other two went in for a head and
neck massage, the pleasure of which I declined. I didn't fancy
being pummeled to death. The next day, Big sis admitted her
shoulders and arms were achey.
champagne was ordered with dinner, and then we ordered some
liqueur. Big sis then started playing on the grand piano in
the zale, to the alarm of the staff. They then started
pointedly looking at their watches, clearing tables, setting
tables, clattering about and generally asking us to call it a
sis carried on undeterred until it suited her to stop. Then
she came and asked us, "Here, aren't there any nightclubs
in this town, men?"
I said I knew of one nearby, but I also pointed out she
had to drive there as well as the whole place seemed so dead,
with hardly a tourist in sight. Dragged her reluctantly to our
extra large four-poster beds.
sis had her manicure and pedicure that I refused to have, I
can jolly well do it myself. Set off after a hearty breakfast.
Learned on my arrival, Dancing Doll had been yelled at by
Caveman, the maids had been yelled at and the driver had been
also yelled at. And me being away just for one night only! How
would they ever manage without me, I wondered?
invents coconut breaking, scraping and milking machine
energy and hassle involved in
breaking, scraping and squeezing coconuts will soon be over.
For many years a coconut had to be cracked, scraped and
squeezed manually by housewives, chefs and cooks in hotels and
today, thanks to the invention of a 15 year old student,
cracking, scraping and squeezing a coconut is possible at the
touch of a button.
the first time possibly in the world a machine that operates
on electricity that can break, scrape and blend a coconut has
been invented by a student in Nugegoda.
12 when the idea came
Dilshan Madushantha Pushpakumara was only 12 years old when he
came up with the idea of inventing a machine to crack, scrape
and blend a coconut. It all began when Pushpakumara went to
the Bhikku Centre in Maharagama on a Poya day.
to The Sunday Leader Madushantha said "I was watching the
dayakas breaking the coconuts to prepare the dane for the
devotees at the Bhikku Centre. I saw the difficulty these
dayakas were going through to break and scrape hundreds of
coconuts. I thought to myself 'what if I could invent a
machine that could be operated by electricity to break, scrape
and blend many coconuts at a time'," Madushantha said.
the cracking of the nuts continued Madushantha's brain started
working. His thoughts were not on the activities taking place
on a Poya day at the Bhikku Centre but on how he could solve
the hassle the dayakas were facing when manually cracking
came home and started to experiment with the idea of inventing
a machine. He finally invented a machine that could break a
coconut and displayed this invention at the Young Inventors of
the Year 2004 exhibition organised by the Sri Lanka Inventors
won an award for his invention at the exhibition. However not
satisfied with his model Madushantha went on to invent a three
in one coconut machine that could break, scrape and blend
coconuts. His new machine was completed in 2006.
participated in the Second Young Inventor of the Year 2006
exhibition held by the SLIC where he won an award for his
latest invention as well.
coconut machine has three switches for the three functions of
breaking, scraping and blending the coconut. "Once you
plug in the machine you place the coconut in the space
provided for it to be cracked and press the switch that breaks
the coconut. Once the coconut is broken you have to hold one
half of the coconut next to the coconut scraper and switch on
the second switch.
coconut scraper will start operating and scrape the coconut.
The scraped coconut can then be placed in the plastic jug for
blending. When you switch on the third switch the scraped
coconut will be blended and the coconut milk separated from
the pieces," explained Madushantha.
20 to 25 coconuts can be cracked per minute by this machine,
while 10 coconuts can be blended in the plastic jug.
Madushantha added that the machine is fitted with a
light motor and is not heavy on electricity.
new three in one coconut machine can be seen at Madushantha's
house at 211/55 Old Kottawa Road, Mirihana, Nugegoda. However
for this young student of Sri Jayawardenapura Maha Vidyalaya
(CMS) his dream of making this invention a useful household
item is yet to materialise.
cannot afford to make more of these machines on my own as I
don't have the funds," he said. Madushantha now seeks the
help of a manufacturer who can undertake the responsibility of
manufacturing these machines. His future dream of seeing his
invention being made use of will be possible if he can only
find a manufacturer to give him the needed assistance.
with a special love for children
one were to say that Sri Lankans are truly talented, few would
disagree. 'Talent' could be a natural endowment or ability of
a superior quality. But to talk about 'talent' alone would be
underestimating the abilities of the unique personality we
feature today. To call him a genius wouldn't be exaggeration
either, because he indeed is an extraordinary intellectual who
holds the DCH (Ceylon), DCH (England), MD (Paediatrics), MRCP
(UK), FRCP (Edinburgh), FRCP (London), FRCPCH (UK), FSLCPaed
and FCCP, in addition to his MBBS from the University of
Ceylon. He is non other than Dr. B.J.C. Perera who heads the
paediatric unit at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) in
is indeed our duty to appreciate those who had rendered
immense service to society. Dr. B.J.C. Perera is one such
individual who was recognised for his unique endeavours in the
field of paediatrics. He was conferred the prestigious
'Outstanding Paediatrician of Asia' Award by the Asia Pacific
Paediatric Association on March 12 at the BMICH.
The significance of this is that Dr. Perera is the sole
recipient of this award from Sri Lanka.
in Wadduwa, Dr. Perera is the youngest in a family of three
siblings. His father, Victor Perera was a public servant, who
held significant positions at the Telecom Department. His
mother Rose Perera was an educated and dutiful housewife.
born to a public servant meant lots of travelling without
being able to settle down in one location. Travelling also
meant changing educational institutions as well. So, Dr.
Perera received his initial education at De Mazenod College in
Kandana and at eighth standard, he shifted to St. Peter's
College, Colombo 4, as a result of his family shifting to
Dehiwela. St. Peter's was his alma mater until he entered the
Faculty of Medicine in the University of Colombo.
down memory lane Dr. Perera told The Sunday Leader, "I
did not know anything about medicine. I didn't even have the
slightest idea of becoming a physician. My parents never put
pressure on me to become this or that and I was given absolute
freedom in deciding my future career. However, after I sat my
O/Ls, to my great surprise I obtained two distinctions and
five credits, which was a big deal at that time (1962). So,
ultimately, it was my teachers at St. Peter's College, who on
my behalf decided that I should study bio science for the
Perera after completing his A/Ls in the Bio Science stream
entered the Colombo Medical Faculty in 1965. "Unlike
nowadays, those days we did not have to stay idling for long
periods to enter university. The results were out in August
1965 and I entered the Colombo Medical Faculty within a
month," Dr. Perera said.
year in which Dr. Perera qualified as a young physician was a
significant year for the faculty itself, as 1970 was also the
centenary year of the Colombo Medical Faculty.
from 1970, Dr. Perera served in local hospitals until 1975. He
initially served in the National Hospital and the LRH. After
completing service in these two hospitals, Dr. Perera made his
way to the hill capital, where he proceeded with a combined
university and hospital course. He lectured in pharmacology,
while serving as a registrar in medicine. Then he returned to
the LRH and served as a registrar in paediatrics.
the time Dr. Perera also completed the MRCP Part I and the DCH
(Ceylon). Meanwhile, he was offered no pay leave by the
ministry in order to complete the MRCP Part II in the United
Kingdom. "I worked in the UK for one year at the City
Hospital in Nottingham from November 1975 to 1976. Then, I was
in Crawley, West Sussex for another two years. After
completing the postgraduate, I returned to Sri Lanka in
1978," Dr. Perera said.
returning home, Dr. Perera served as a resident paediatrician
at the LRH for four months. From there, he was posted to the
Badulla Hospital and this ultimately became his first 'main
consultant appointment.' He served there for six years, from
1979 to 1985. Then he served at the Ratnapura Hospital for
three years. From Ratnapura, Dr. Perera moved to the
Kurunegala Teaching Hospital, where he served for two
consecutive years and then moved to the Kalubowila Hospital,
serving there for four years. Finally, Dr. Perera was
appointed to the LRH in 1994, where he has been serving ever
asked to compare his experience gained locally and
internationally Dr. Perera said that here in Sri Lanka doctors
work under very difficult circumstances when compared with the
Western world. "We have a huge demand of work to meet,
with minimum facilities. At LRH, we have a minimum of 2,500
children who seek the services of our OPD daily and 30 daily
admissions are made," he said.
out the areas that he felt should be improved in the local
health sector, Dr. Perera said that more investors should come
forward and invest in the local health sector. "I think
that it should come from the citizens of our country. If we
have a system like national insurance in the UK, things would
turn out to be much better. If people can sacrifice at least
0.1% from their salaries to the medical service, it won't
affect them much. However, there may be logistical
problems," Dr. Perera said.
more on the local medical arena, Dr. Perera appreciated the
virtual elimination of some of the 'killers.' "In
addition, polio and diptheria are hardly seen in Sri Lanka.
There is very little whooping cough too and no measles at all.
Theses are the triumphs of our health service due to the
vaccines," he said.
Perera also expected to see a change in access to most of the
OPDs, where people even walked in for minor matters. "I
would like a referral system being established in the
government hospitals, not the private sector. I would like to
see this being changed as well, but it will be a politically
sensitive thing," he said.
initially started as a house officer on March 25, 1971 for the
second part of my internship. At the beginning, I actually
hated paediatrics as I wanted to do adult medicine. However, I
gradually developed a liking for children," he said with
man who hated paediatrics, today has devoted his entire life
to children. "Children are such that they tend to grow on
you virtually. The most attractive thing that I see in
paediatrics is that we manage to prevent or cure a lot of
illnesses in children and it is quite different than treating
adults," Dr. Perera said.
Perera married Dr. Sarojini Perera in 1975. She, at present is
working in the HIV/AIDS prevention project of the Healthcare
and Nutrition Ministry. Their only child Maneesha is also
married and settled down and thus Dr. Perera is the proud
grandfather of a one-year old grandson.
Dr. Perera, the cardinal rule in life is 'to do well whatever
you do.' "Fortunately or unfortunately, I am a bit of a
perfectionist and being so tends to put a lot of stress on my
own self, while trying to achieve perfection," Dr. Perera
ayurveda massage is different
are many kinds
of massages today. But the ayurveda massage dates back to over
3000 years. It stimulates, warms and treats certain parts of
the body which the individual himself has never been able to
touch," explains Dr. Sujeewa Vithana of
Mansuwa Ayurveda, Mansuwa.
near the Batalanda Staff College, on Vihara Mawatha, Makola,
it is described as a 'veda medura' and has been the home of a
priest who formulated and advocated the miraculous Pranajeewa
herbal oil for high cholesterol and modern day ills.
this hospital has dedicated every brick therein to the cause
of ayurveda. The treatment is for the more critical
conditions. But its massages
which involves a generous use of their own herbal oils speak
two ayurveda physicians begin the massage, they concentrate on
every cell in the body. The oil is warmed and the atmosphere
serene. "We dedicate our services to the pancha karma and
all our treatments are according to the tenets of ayurveda,"
explains Dr. Vithana.
the herbs steam, the patients get ready to step out after his
oil massage to be steamed in the herbal sauna. "As the
curbed wooden enclosure wraps on the patient, only the head
becomes visible. Inside, the herbal steam enraptures the body,
causing every pore to open.
is called a full body herbal oil treatment and a steam
bath," explains Dr. Sujeewa as a glistening patient is
kneaded softly by two ayurveda physicians. Closeby, the oil is
warming and the patient is asleep. The massage goes on for an
hour. The focus is on the pressure points.
In another enclosures sits a patient with a snake bite.
He has to sit in the herbal concoction for two days, the
is the popular Shridora, where drops of oil falls on the
forehead of a patient, who waits patiently for the stress to
dissolve. This is the ideal treatment for headache, tension,
premature graying and falling hair," explains Dr. Sujeewa.
is a generous amount of oil being poured in here as patients
bathed in oil hover in the hospital. As one waits for drops of
oil to fall on the forehead there are others being bathed in
oil. "This is called Saravangadaara treatment and
the patient is bathed in oil. This is the best treatment for
strokes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and skin
diseases," says the doctor in charge.
the strong herbal scents fill the air, one is able to see
herbs, roots, barks and seeds being dried in the garden.
is a purely traditional place, sans airconditioning. The
massages are done to warm the body and the kasaya or herbal
concoctions are boiled and cooled to body temperature
before the patients are bathed for 40 minutes.
keeping with more modern trends, the hospital has its own
'beauty clinic.' Herein,
herbs and powders are used for the facials and cleansing
systems and the fragrance of sandalwood fills the air.
is not a commercial system of massage. The panchakarma that we
practice here makes treatment a sacred process," said Dr.
involves vamana karma. This is a main treatment that also
involves the upper respiratory tract, chest and stomach to
bring out impurities and unwanted elements. This helps
in the treatment of phlegm conditions, catarrh, asthma and
skin diseases." said Dr. Vithana.
nasal treatment also helps to drain away unwanted elements and
thus helps to relieve sinusitis, eyediseases and diseases of
the skin. It also helps to add a glow to the face, and rid one
of psychological ailments too," explained the doctor.
went on to explain about virechana karma, a treatment that
involves the clearing of
the stomach and the digestive system.
karma is a treatment that concentrates on administering kasaya
(herbal concoctions) via the rectum. It is a proven method for
the treatment of paralysis and constipation," he said.
further about raktha moshanaya, Dr. Sujeewa Vithana said that
this treatment involves the purification of blood. "Ayurveda
uses leeches to drain the 'bad' blood away and this treatment
helps to wipe out skin patches and in the treatment of
varicose veins," he said.
is important that every kind of treatment is carried out after
taking into account the temperament and the body conditions of
the patient. We use oils to suit individuals and massages are
done with different oils for individuals," he said.
massage is a must in today's rat-race existence. An ayurveda
massage will not only help burn the fat away but will soothe,
treat and cure the ailing and the tired and the disease
ridden," he said.
is important that these ayurveda massages are done under the
guidance of qualified ayurveda physicians. An ayurveda massage
has more to it than massaging the body in different directions
with some commercial oil," cautioned, Dr. Sujeewa.
cancer with food
who eat vegetarian or
near vegetarian diets have the lowest rates of cancer in the
world. A vegetarian diet comes
closest to the dietary guidelines for reduction of
cancer set forth by the National Cancer Institute of USA which
estimates that one third of all cancer deaths in USA and eight
out of 10 of all cancers are related to diet.
to some estimates about 30% to 40% of cancers in men and up to
60% of cancers in women are due to dietary factors (Bayer and
have revealed that Asians and Africans have much lower
incidence of breast cancer than Europeans and Americans who
consume Western-type diets, There is evidence to show that
vegetarian diets protect against breast cancer because -
Vegetarians have lower levels of blood oestrogens hormones
that raise the
risk of breast cancer ( B.K. Armstrong et
Vegetarians begin menstruation somewhat later than average and
there is a longer time between periods. Dietary fat shortens
the menstrual cycle while fibre increases it (Cassidy et al
Soya food consumption can block the activity of oestrogens and
soyabeans contain chemicals called isoflavones which act
Haryana it has been observed that daily consumption of green
and yellow vegetables rich in
betacarotene, vitamin C, calcium and dietary fibre
lowers the risk of cancer. There has been shown a strong
relationship between animal protein intake and breast cancer
(Graham et al, American Journal of Epidemiology, 1991).
is more strongly linked to colon cancer than to any other type
of cancer and vegetarians are less liable to get this disease
(Journal of National
Cancer Institute, Vol. 30:1983).
vegetarians unlike in meat eaters colon cells are much less
active (the more the colon cells divide the greater the risk
of cancer). Secondary bile acids
which are carcinogenic are more in omnivores compared
to vegetarians. Vegetarians have fewer of the bacteria that
convert the harmless bile acids into ones that are
carcinogenic compared to non vegetarians.
tobacco and alcohol intake are major risk factors for
oesophageal cancer, low intake of vitamin A and C are also
associated with increased risk of this cancer. Lack of
consumption of fruits and vegetables has been linked to cancer
of oral cavity.
have higher blood levels of betacarotene which is thought to
protect against cancer. Polyphenols prevent cancer of
oesophagens and stomach and non vegetarian diets contain
powerful carcinogens such as nitrosamines.
the men in the USA cancer of the prostate is the second most
common malignancy and this cancer is not common among Seventh
Day Adventist men as compared to general population,
suggesting that vegetarianism is the protective factor
of Clinical Nutrition, 1994), high fibre intake decreases the
risk of prostate cancer and high fat intake raises the risk
(Cancer, Vol. 58, 1986).
the first Cancer Project Symposium held in July 2006 in
Bethesda (USA) where hundreds of cancer specialists
(oncologists), nurses, health professionals, dietitians
presided by Dr. Neal Bernard MD, the oncologists came to the
conclusion that plants
such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula,
watercress and radish may be effective in reducing cancer risk
of several organ sites. Crucifers are rich in certain
chemicals e.g. glucosnolates which induce the liver to produce
enzymes that detoxify potential carcinogens.
D. P. Atukorala
Lanka Institute of Interior Designers to beautify living
Sri Lanka Institute of Interior
Designers will have a series of workshops on the theme
`beautify your living,' to enlighten on the importance of
applying design elements to enhance the look of indoors,
outdoors and other socio-cultural festivals and events.
first workshop in the series will be held at the Galle Face
Hotel, Colombo (Main Ballroom) on Saturday,
from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
programme will present the making of a room with respect to
space planning, furniture arrangement, lighting, colour
schemes, selection of furnishings and decorative accessories
in keeping with one's budget.
on floral presentation and arrangement, is another item on the
programme, emphasising the importance of using fresh flowers,
foliage and other natural materials.
next segment is planning your garden, which includes both
planting and creating outdoor living areas with relevant
decorative features in the garden.
Lankan festivals is another highlight, with the making of
decorations for the celebrations, creating the right
atmosphere and environment for the occasion.
Your Living is a workshop for the Sri Lankan woman,
highlighting on the saying by Philip Rosenthal 'part of the
art of living is living with art.'
working woman, the housewife - not leaving out the young girl
- aspiring towards homemaking will benefit to make a pleasing
environment for all.
will also be a range of products both decorative and gift
items for sale to make a worthy purchase this festive season.