hikes are driving us to starvation
Tennyson, Lilamani, Indrani,
Kumara, Nadika and Jennima
price hikes all round and the government's
failure to give relief to the people the
general public have now compared the rising
Cost of Living (CoL) to a cricket
scoreboard always keeps going up and the CoL
too is similar to it. No decrease but only
increase," claimed some parents at
S.Thomas' College in Mount Lavinia.
irrespective of party politics and social
status, people today find it extremely
difficult to survive with the rising CoL and
point out to the bribery and corruption
within government as one of the main causes.
the government puts a complete stop to
bribery and corruption within its ranks and
use the country's wealth sensibly we cannot
survive any longer irrespective of
the war," charged some bus commuters.
the government claims that the high war
expenditure has resulted in the present
spate of price hikes the general public
query as to why the government cannot reduce
the number of ministers and slash their
allowances to face the present crisis.
more burdens on the people
what is worse, the government last week
further increased the prices of fuel putting
more burdens on the people. As a result a
bus fare revision is on the cards while
parents claim the school vans too have
raised their charges from next month.
vegetable sellers meanwhile told The Sunday
Leader that they too were compelled to
increase the prices of vegetables as the
transport cost had risen to dizzy heights.
government has failed to increase the public
and private sector salaries even by Rs. 500,
but it shamelessly increases the prices of
commodities every other day," claimed
the fishing folk at Dehiwela queried as to
why the government ministers could not
reduce their security and send the rest to
fight against terrorism if they are really
concerned about the war and the country.
cabinet of ministers has more than five
thousand security personnel guarding them.
That is about the entire cadre strength of
What is the reason to protect them so
much when they have failed miserably to
address a single issue," queried the
and feeble, Podinona who has lost her humble
house due to the 2004 tsunami is now
spending her last stages with her neighbours.
pillar to post
we were promised
houses none of us were given even a
shed to live in. With all these burdens the
government is sending the innocent people
from pillar to post. Earlier if I had no
money I used to skip one or two meals and
survive on a cup of milk. But now the
poorest of the poor have been
deprived of even a cup of milk tea and we
are only depending on plain tea,"
Podinona told The Sunday Leader in tears.
to Podinona, since she lost her house she is
spending her days with some poor families
who have become her friends but they too
have found it extremely difficult to survive
due to the high prices, especially of rice
we are from the fishing community we are not
lucky enough to taste a piece of fish, as
the daily catch is sold to buy our basic
needs for the day. I have one son and
a daughter who are staying in Hambantota but
since they too are leading miserable lives
due to the high food prices how could I
expect any assistance from them?"
mother of three told The Sunday Leader in
prepared to even kill the politicians
for piling on the burdens on the innocent
people of the country.
certainly can kill the government ministers
with my bare hands for passing these burdens
on to us. It is these rogues who rob the
country's wealth and shamelessly pass the
burden on us. How dare they say that all
these price hikes are due to the war? Is
this the only government that fought this
war? All the previous governments fought the
Tigers but the prices of rice, bread,
coconut, milk powder and kerosene never went
up like this," complained Lilani.
to Lilani she survives on two meals a day
instead of three as she has found it
extremely difficult to afford three meals.
our breakfast we need three loafs of bread.
But how can we spend Rs.120 for three loafs?
So we skip breakfast and have our lunch a
little earlier," claimed Lilani.
- a luxury food
I have to spend a minimum of Rs. 500 per day
for rice, coconuts, sugar, curry stuff and
kerosene oil. Even a government servant
cannot spend such a big amount for a day.
Now we have completely stopped drinking milk
as milk has become a luxury item. Enough is
enough, we are waiting to welcome the
politicians this time," added Lilani.
who finds it extremely difficult to survive
with the high CoL told The Sunday Leader
that she sometimes feels like committing
suicide with her two kids as she cannot
to give milk to her two small
children. "Small children depend on
milk but what can I do if I cannot afford to
buy milk for my children? They refuse to
drink tea so I add more sugar to give a
sweeter taste but to no avail.
they were given a jug of milk before leaving
home as it was too early for them to have
breakfast but now most of the days they
leave home in hunger as they refuse their
cup of plain tea," Lakmali said wiping
President Mahinda Rajapakse of giving a
false promise of providing a glass of milk
and the mid-day meal to all poor school
children, Lakmali further stated that the
President has now deprived the children of
their daily milk by increasing the price of
milk powder which is now out of their reach.
who has lost one of her legs due to the
tsunami says that she leads a miserable life
unable to drink even a cup of plain tea as a
result of the price hikes.
this government cannot give us food at a
lower price they should hand over
power to anyone who can give us
relief. When we lost our homes due to the
tsunami the government promised to give us
houses but now it's three years since the
tsunami. Instead of giving us houses they
have robbed all the money they received for
tsunami rebuilding," charged Jennima.
Fernando, a fisherman living on the Dehiwela
beach and struggling to survive however told
The Sunday Leader that the people should
make sacrifices at this moment as the
government was fighting terrorism.
should hail President Mahinda Rajapakse's
effort to defeat terrorism. Without blaming
the government the people should extend
their support and we are ready to face any
circumstances as the government is waging
war against the LTTE," added Fernando.
asked as to how long he was willing to face
the present high expenditure Fernando said
that they are ready to battle against hunger
in 2008 as the government has assured the
people of the country that the war would
come to a complete end before the end of
mother who did not want to divulge
her name, while also justifying the
price hikes told The Sunday Leader that she
finds no fault with the government for its
failure to give houses to
tsunami victims as the government is
engaged in a sincere war effort.
could accuse our President for his failure
to provide relief to the poor people? He is
trying to save the country from the
terrorists. We are ready to sacrifice even
our lives to strengthen the hands of the
President who is genuinely fighting against
terrorism," added Fernando's mother.
Indrani who had been working in Kuwait when
the tsunami struck, when informed that her
entire house was washed away had requested
her employer to assist her to get her house
employer was a generous gentleman who told
me that they have sent enough funds to Sri
Lanka and that I could get assistance from
the Sri Lankan government. Full of hope I
returned to the country but not a single
cent has been given to any of us who were
victims of the tsunami," charged
to Indrani with the latest price hike of
kerosene oil she has been compelled to use
only one lamp at night. "Earlier I lit
more than three lamps but now I use only one
lamp. This government has not only darkened
our lives but our houses as well,"
the government of protecting the corrupt,
Indrani queried as to why the government
punishes those who make a living by selling
illicit liquor to feed their families when
the bigwigs are allowed to engage in any
is the worst government we have had. On one
hand they are stealing money that was sent
to the innocent tsunami victims and on the
other hand, from the top to the bottom they
are stealing the country's wealth,"
Kumara, a vendor who supplies vegetables to
the shanty dwellers said that the time has
now come to skip two meals in order to
is this government doing by increasing the
prices? I voted for this government but
there is no justification for the manner in
which they are governing the country. They
should know how to wage war and also control
the economy. Before the election they did
not say that the people will have to starve
because of the war. They promised to give
relief to the poor but have failed so
far," added Kumara.
brings relief to cancer patients
is rare to find someone who does not
know about, or has not been touched by
cancer. Today there are thousands of
children and adults who are suffering from
cancer and are not able to obtain the
required treatment for various reasons. The
National Cancer Institute, Maharagama (NCI)
currently supports many such cases with
limited facilities. The Courage, Compassion
and Commitment (CCC) Foundation Inc., was
founded five years ago in Australia to
support the children at the Cancer Hospital.
On January 10, CCC officially launched its
Sri Lankan arm of the foundation and
commenced raising funds to build the CCC
House, a 140 bed transit home for
underprivileged cancer outpatients and their
carers at the Cancer Hospital.
to The Sunday Leader, Chairman, CCC
Foundation, Jetha Devapura said that on a
trip to the NCI long years ago, he was moved
by how many patients, children in
particular, were affected by the lethal
disease, and the fact that the poorer of the
group were those worse hit.
incorporated the CCC Foundation in
Australia, and with its partners - the Royal
Children's Hospital (RCH) and The Peter
MacCallum Cancer Centre of Melbourne, has
been working with the National Cancer
Institute to implement best practice
oncology treatment and care for children and
adults over a period of time. The CCC has
already raised funds towards a paediatric
ICU in 2005 and a 14 bed children's ward at
the Cancer Hospital which opened in August
2006. They have also organised training
visits for medical staff from the RCH to
CCC Foundation - Sri Lanka will
ensure the continuity of this project.
said, "CCC House will not only give a
comfortable bed to those patients forced to
sleep on corridors of the hospital (floor
patients), but will also have facilities for
the medical staff to focus on the newly
admitted and critically ill patients."
House will have capacity for 140 outpatients
and 30 carers - a facility that will help
reduce by this number, the outpatients who
are currently in the hospital wards.
House will therefore improve the overall
wellbeing and care given to in-patients as
well as outpatients. Additionally, the
carers of 30 outpatient children will also
have a comfortable bed and a place to rest.
home care is defined as an integrated
service with a dual function of hospital
care and home care. This is essentially
reserved for patients who require outpatient
treatment. They do not need intensive
supervision. However, patients should have
quick access to medical care when required.
Director of the National Cancer Institute,
Dr. Kanishka Karunaratne said: "This
type of accommodation is ideal for patients
undergoing radiotherapy and day
chemotherapy. CCC House will also improve
the psycho-social environment for the
outpatients as well as the carers making
recovery more ideal in a homely
House will be established within the
premises of the NCI, on a 20 perch block of
state land. The transit home will be funded
and maintained by the CCC Foundation Inc.
through private donations and sponsorships
from both Australia and Sri Lanka. Devapura
said "We appeal to companies, clubs and
individuals in the community to support our
endeavour to make a difference to those
afflicted with cancer," adding that so
far the response from the corporate sector
also explained that should a corporate
company sponsor a room, they could have
their company name on the door. Fund-raising
is still underway to commence the first
stage of the project. Devapura said that
many cancer patients travel great distances
just to get treatment for a day and can't
afford anything better. Sometimes its too
late for them to travel back home, so they
end up sleeping on the floor. The CCC House
is just one initiative in making their
already bleak lives just a bit easier.
Dr. P.R. Anthonis celebrates his 97th
still sits in his consulting room, and
P.R. Anthonis - a medical
man for all seasons
every profession during an era,
there rises an individual who in his
lifetime is justifiably
accorded a historic dimension and a
legendary status for his achievements and
the impact he makes on society. Dr. Anthonis,
a healer, teacher
and mentor is an accomplished,
distinguished man, warm hearted and clear in
his thinking. He is a remarkable person, a
professional of repute whose mind, heart and
talents come together to create a
masterpiece of a human being.
achievements are many, his collection of
gold medals and honours conferred upon him
are unbelievable. He is one of those rare
people who live an exemplary life,
practicing his skills to heal human
suffering. He is the only surgeon who goes
to his patients day or night thus achieving
greatness through his own humane efforts.
clarity of his purpose exposes the
foundation of the inner heart. He has not
followed where the path may lead but instead
where there is no path, he has left a trail.
He is a true Buddhist, following the
teachings of the Awakened One, with a desire
to be awakened and not merely as one who
labels himself as belonging to a particular
though one goes about adorned, if one is
calm, controlled, restrained, is chaste and
has laid aside the rod towards all beings,
such a one is a Brahmin, such a one is a
ascetic, such a one is a bikkhu." - The
is a family man, who praises his beloved
wife Ruby as his perfect partner of 58
the skilled surgeon, Dr. Anthonis performed
his last operation on December 30, 2007, on
the threshold of completing 97 years. But
this may not be his final operation.
accepts almost every invitation and has a
busy schedule everyday visiting patients,
hospitals, meetings and functions. He still
sits impeccably dressed in his consulting
room at his residence, wrapped in golden
memories, ever ready to heal the mind, heart
and body of any human being who seeks him
is a true son of Sri Lanka, a colossus in
the medical arena - God's special gift to
mankind. As he celebrates his 97th birthday
on January 21, he receives wishes in
abundance. For he is truly a legend in our
efforts lead to tentative outcomes.
Therefore give yourself fully to your
endeavours. Decide to construct your
character through excellent actions and
determine to pay the price of a worthy goal.
The trials you encounter will introduce you
to your strengths. Remain steadfast.and one
day you will build something that endures,
something worthy of your potential."-
Epicetus, Roman Teacher, Philosopher 55-135
in love triangle
love triangle was torn asunder
when two grandfathers aged 70 and 75 were
taken into custody by the Women and
Children's Bureau last week after a
complaint was received from the guardians of
a 13 year old girl alleging that she was
raped by the two men.
girl in question lived with her father and
stepmother in Panadura, while her mother
had observed that the girl had been in and
out of the houses in which the two senior
citizens lived and the men had been outside
to wave at her, before she left for school
and when she returned.
a period of six months the 70 year old and
the 75 year old had befriended the girl,
talking to her, telling her stories.
"The 70 year old grandpa gave me sweets
and the 75 year old grandpa gave me
money," the girl told police. The
friendship between the girl and the two men
had developed. As the girl was keen to get
out of home, she had always been among
friends in the neighbourhood.
to the complaint, both men had sex with the
girl after they lured her into one house.
case is being investigated by the officers
of the Women and Children's Bureau and the
suspects are to be produced in court. The
girl is to be handed over to the Salvation
cows from a gruesome death...
Sicille P.C. Kotelawala explaining a
was an occasion for joy
and tears when the Ceylinco Sarana Cattle
Protection Centre was declared open by
Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and his
wife, Deputy Chairperson of Ceylinco
Consolidated, Dr. Sicille P.C. Kotelawala.
very personal project of Ceylinco's First
Lady, the Ceylinco Sarana Cattle Protection
Centre which was launched on October 28, has
been the reason why several hundreds of cows
have been saved from anguish and a gruesome
friends, I thank you all for the support.
This is a very special day for the Chairman
and for me. We have made
great progress, and doctors and
professors from overseas too have been
touched by this project," said Lady,
Dr. Sicille P.C. Kotelawala. She was
referring to the many doctors and professors
who visited Sri Lanka recently when she
received a doctorate.
doctors and professors, some of
them from Asian cultures and yet
others from Australia and USA who were
touched by this compassionate project have
themselves bought cows condemned to death.
Many of these cows were heavy with
purchase of a cow through this centre means
that the cow is sponsored by the person who
saved its life. The cow is also given a name
and the sponsor can visit the cow that he
saved from death.
a gathering at Raja Bojun recently, poor
farmers were brought from far off places as
Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura and educated
about the project.
this lovely Buddhist country, farmers will
now have a way of repaying these milch cows
who have been mothers to us - giving milk to
our children," observed Dr. Sicille
Sicille P.C. Kotelawala who had visited an
abattoir in Welisara recalled on Thursday,
January 10 at the opening of Ceylinco Sarana
Cattle Protection Centre at 31/1 De Fonseka
Place, Colombo 4 that she was horrified at
the goings-on therein.
top of the road was the 'mus kade' (meat
shop) and next to it was the restaurant
where devilled beef and beef curry were
being served. Further down the road was the
abattoir. In a muddy shed were about 40-50
cows. Each time the iron gate was opened
they all huddled in a corner. There was this
brown and white cow that was looking fixedly
at me," remembered Dr. Sicille P.C.
was observed that the moment an 'urgent'
requirement of beef arose, a cow was pulled
out in a hurry and killed amidst heavy
resistance from the starving animal.
owner was not very pleased that we were
there. The cattle were not fed for days. We
were told that when the stomachs of these
animals were empty there were less problems
for the butchers as they did not have to
clean their intestines. Thus the animals
waiting to die were not given water or
food," said Dr. Sicille P.C. Kotelawala
friend who accompanied Dr. Sicille P.C.
Kotelawala said that Dr. Sicille P.C.
Kotelawala was in tears and had got down a
truckload of grass for the cows to eat. She
had ordered that they be given water and had
left the abattoir after purchasing four
pregnant cows, and promising to come back
for the rest of the animals.
a week and after these cows were brought
under her care many of them had given birth.
a slight cough lead to death in 20 days?
want of good medical care for his
wife who brought him much happiness, a
husband has had to pay dearly. Husbands do
the utmost for their wives, especially when
they are sick. No matter what the financial
status is, they want to give the best
medical care to their better half.
Hettiarachchi is one such husband who had
wanted the best medical care for his wife
but it was not to be. He lost the love of
his life due to alleged medical negligence.
nine year old Elizabeth May Swarna
Hettiarachchi of Sri Medhankara Road,
Dehiwela, an active housewife despite her
illnesses, had died allegedly due to medical
negligence according to her husband who is
yet to recover from the nightmare he had to
undergo at a time when it was least
Hettiarachchi died at a leading private
hospital on June 5, 2007, 20 days after
being admitted to the hospital. According to
Hettiarachchi although she was admitted for
a slight cough the cause of death at the
post mortem had stated
'Cardio pulmonary arrest due to
with a cough
noticed my mother suffering from a slight
cough the day after she celebrated her 59th
birthday and I immediately rushed her to
Apollo Hospital where she had been taking
treatment for the last four years. As she
was a kidney transplant patient and on
immune compromised status since the
transplant operation, we were asked by her
Nephrologist, Dr. Srujith Somiah to give her
the best medical care even for the slightest
illness. As a result I rushed my mother to
the hospital on May 17 morning," said
Elizabeth Hettiarachchi's son.
mother was admitted to Room No. 4023 for
treatment and tests to diagnose her
condition were done immediately. The doctors
who attended on her decided to consult Chest
Specialist, Dr. Channa Ranasinghe," he
according to Elizabeth Hettiarachchi's
husband, the doctor in question who had been
channelled, had failed to turn up and had
arrived only 24 hours later. "Dr.
Ranasinghe first attended on my wife on May
21 and going through the test reports he was
satisfied with the condition of her lungs.
He suggested to Dr. Somiah
that the patient could be discharged.
Though I was happy to hear that my wife's
lungs were in good condition Dr. Somiah did
not agree with Dr. Ranasinghe's suggestion,
since he felt that my wife was not in a
proper state of health to be
discharged," explained Hettiarachchi.
to Hettiarachchi despite the assurance given
by the Chest Specialist that the patient's
lungs were in good condition she had to be
transferred to the Medical Intensive Care
Unit (MICU) on
May 24 due to a difficulty in
Dr. Ranasinghe assured us that my wife's
lung's were functioning well
he still continued to treat her. If
there was nothing to be worried about then
he would have simply stopped treating my
wife, leaving Dr. Somiah to care for her. As
to why the Chest Specialist continued to
treat my wife is one of the many questions
that is constantly troubling my mind,"
claimed that although his wife was put on
the ventilator and various tests were done
to find out the exact reason for the illness
he was shocked to hear that still the
hospital could not diagnose the cause of the
illness. "This hospital, which claims
to be the only hospital in the country with
ultra modern equipment with diagnostic
facilities was unable to identify the cause
of the illness. Since they failed to
diagnose my wife's illness on time she had
to die," alleged Hettiarachchi.
told The Sunday Leader that it is impossible
for him to understand
what had happened to his wife who had
walked into the hospital with a slight cough
and had to leave the hospital in a coffin.
"My wife underwent a kidney transplant
at Apollo, New Delhi in 2003. After she was
discharged I still did not want to fly back
home immediately and instead stayed in a
nearby lodge with her. The very next day she
had a breathing problem and I immediately
rushed her to the hospital. I was later
informed that she had pneumonia. After four
days she was completely cured and
situation here is completely different. The
doctors in India are concerned about their
patient's well-being while here it is not
so. If the necessary tests were done at the
correct time and if the doctors who had
attended on her had done so on time she
would still be among us," said
to Hettiarachchi since the hospital could
not diagnose his wife's illness the hospital
authorities had treated
her for all possible illnesses such
as TB, cancer, pneumonia and for many other
illnesses. "This was personally
confirmed to me by the doctors who were
attending on her.
In their own language they were
'firing' drugs for all possible lung
diseases. Since my wife was a kidney patient
I was really worried about her kidneys.
According to Dr. Somiah her kidneys were
functioning perfectly but as she was given
all sorts of drugs her kidneys started to
pack up," added Hettiarachchi.
a result, according to Hettiarachchi his
wife had begun to bloat and had to undergo
dialysis on three consecutive days - June 2,
3 and 4, which is not done on kidney
patients. "She was in severe pain and
this was evident by the look on her
face," Hettiarachchi said.
July I wrote to the Director, Medical
Services requesting an investigation into my
wife's death. He responded to me on July 21
and gave an assurance that an investigation
will be held. He also took my contact number
to inform me of the outcome but sadly, to
date, he has failed to call me or write to
let me know the results of the
investigation," claimed Hettiarachchi.
disclaims knowledge of incident
Mahinda Hettiarachchi alleges that
death was due to medical negligence,
Chief Executive Officer, Apollo
Hospital, Lakith Peiris told The
Sunday Leader that he cannot see any
medical negligence with regard to the
death of Elizabeth Hettiarachchi as
the records clearly show that the
hospital and the doctors have done
their best for her.
the patient died a few hours after
admittance and if
the doctor concerned had failed
give proper medication then we
could say that death was due to
medical negligence. But in this case
the patient had died 20 days after
being admitted and we cannot jump to
conclusions that death was due to
medical negligence," Peiris
when asked as to why the hospital
failed to investigate the matter and
inform the outcome to the bereaved
family, Peiris, referring to the
letter sent by Hettiarachchi to
Director, Medical Services, Apollo
Hospital said that the bereaved family
had not requested an investigation but
had only alleged negligence by the
when The Sunday Leader informed Peiris
that the Director, Medical Services,
on July 21 had assured Hettiarachchi
that an impartial inquiry would be
held and that the family would be
informed of the outcome, Peiris said
that he was unaware of such an
took over this post in November and I
did not know of the incident until
your paper called me. I was told by
the Director, Medical Services that
the hospital will hold an inquiry. We
as laymen cannot come to a conclusion
and say that the doctor in question is
at fault. It is the Sri Lanka Medical
Council that has to
decide on that. Anyhow, if
there is any doubt by the management
of the hospital then we would
certainly hold an inquiry,"
always ensure the wellbeing of the
patients as we are the only hospital
in the country that maintains records
of each in-house and outdoor patient
from the very inception. Apollo will
not for any reason cover up anybody's
lapses if there was a lapse. That is
come to us. In this instance,
where a doctor is concerned, I, being
a layman cannot evaluate the doctor's
skills and there are authorities that
could take up the matter when there is
a complaint," Peiris reiterated.
Med. Services cites court action,
refuses to comment
Medical Services, Apollo Hospital,
Colombo, Dr. S.Ratnapriya when
contacted by The Sunday Leader did not
wish to comment on the matter citing
that the party concerned is planning
to go to court.
the deceased patient's family is
planning to file a case I cannot
comment on it," Dr. Ratnapriya
when the newspaper told him that the
matter has still not been referred to
court and as the Director, Medical
Services at Apollo Hospital he could
comment on the issue Dr. Ratnapriya
still did not want to give their side
of the story.
asked on the latest situation with
regard to the investigations that he
had promised to hold, Dr.
Ratnapriya failed to give a reason as
to why an investigation was not
conducted. "I don't see any
medical negligence," was his only
beauty of nature
Saturday and I'm home alone. Not really,
but my family has deserted me. Outside my
window I can clearly see the dwellers by the
stream have their bath in the communal
shower. I'm jolly well not going to move my
computer table just because they are in full
children have their baths first, some of
them protesting loudly. Their mothers or
minders shout back. In between their cock
bird is crowing, even though it is 1.55 p.m.
This time I can excuse it, because it has
suddenly got gloomy and so it looks like
seriously, one of these days, I will wring
its neck, it keeps crowing at the most
ungodly hours in the middle of the night or
at the absolute crack of dawn. It crows on
and on and on... I wonder if it wants
women glance up at me, but I carry on. They
are in their bathing sarongs and shriek out
all kinds of information I can well do
without knowing to each other. I'm not
eavesdropping, but I can hear it very
come the men, all coughing and spitting
noisily. Yuck! No, I'm still not moving my
table! I think the birds have got a bit
confused, it looks like twilight and they
are all twittering away like they do in the
evening. Three of the Seven Sisters preen on
the roof in front of me and groom themselves
dear! The ice-cream van with the annoying
tune played over and over is coming around,
but since it's not hot, I doubt people will
want to buy ice-creams in this weather, even
though it's the weekend.
Now the musical sound has stopped, so
someone must be indulging, regardless of the
weather. Distant thunder is better than
explosions of gunpowder, I think. Some
people cower indoors, but for how long? I am
really sleepy since I stayed up very late
watching movies and reading.
kept calling to see if I was all right. By
the time I assured everyone I was fine and
was looking forward to some alone time, I
had been sitting here for about two hours.
The bathing is still going on. Some of my
friends were saying they weren't quite
comfortable in the new-style open toilets,
built so you could enjoy the wonders of
nature. One said she kept looking up at the
trees, expecting to see someone perched up
there, watching her bathe and doing
friend told this guy to please build a nice
toilet in his beach house. He asked her what
she meant by "nice" and she said
with tiles and a proper shower, instead of a
natural water spout. He snorted with disgust
and said what utter rubbish, this is the
natural charm of the place, it being close
to nature, etc.
also told her if she wanted an alternative,
he would provide her with a bucket and spade
to go behind the bushes and do whatever! We
all protested loudly and reminded him we
were eating, thank you very much, and to
change the conversation immediately. He
responded by saying the open beach was also
there for the using. Disgusting!
I must say that when I was in some of these
eco friendly hotels, I was not too
comfortable with this concept as well. One
had the shower and toilet seat in two
separate cubicles, but without doors! Why
would one want to stroll in for a shower if
someone else was perched on the loo? Some
have glass walls and open skies, but I too,
was wondering if monkeys, bats or birds
would suddenly decide to fly in. You also
have this feeling that someone is lurking in
the luxuriant foliage outside, having a
jolly good peep show.
family toilet story is how Beautiful
Dreamer, on her first day at school, decided
that the toilet provided for her was too
yucky. So, she marched into the principal's
room and used her toilet. The principal was
out of her room and was astonished to see a
small creature emerge from the toilet when
an investigation, she burst out laughing
since B.D. had told her she just couldn't
use a toilet without tiles, bathmats and
nice matching towels! Thankfully, the school
toilets were renovated soon afterwards, or I
don't know what the consequences might have
been. She's reminded of this episode
regularly, much to her annoyance!
- Honky Tonk Woman
signal not received... Shutting down now
years ago, I was sitting in
the next to the last row in a
classroom in an old converted
warehouse building. It was my first
class but my second time around at
doing the college thing. I wasn't
nervous but I was apprehensive. I
didn't want to be taught a lot of
things that I already knew because
that would have been a waste of
time and money.
girl on my left ... well she couldn't stop
talking. She was
bubbly, cheerful and very much larger
than life and a little bit ditzy
to boot. Her name was Hannah. She had
brains and was intelligent but I
think that they (her brain cells) had
refused to cooperate with the
rest of the world as it was a long
time ago. So you'd never think it
to look at her.
liked her. She sat on one side of me having
rushed in late. On
the other side of me was someone who
was going to be another friend
and she confessed to me that she was
a bit nervous too. The class was
World Literature Two - World
Literature One having been scheduled for
the next semester for some reason.
same - every time
professor walked in and started on what I
thought then to be a
wonderful lecture/introduction till I
found out in the years
afterwards that she pretty much gave
it in every class she taught. But
she tossed out questions to the
love answering questions. It's a compulsive
habit as long as the
question is one worth answering. So
she asked us what our definition of words
would be. And as if I wasn't conspicuous
enough already, with
being the only visibly obvious ethnic
minority in the room, I raised
my hand and answered from the back
and of course everyone had to turn
to look at me.
was my answer: 'Words are pieces of jigsaw
are like the overall picture except
that once you know how you can
move the words around anyway you like
to form several different
pictures because the pieces in this
puzzle can fit together in a
number of different ways. And
everyone who looks at the picture that's
made gets a different idea of what is
represented and that's where we
get stories from.'
wasn't allowed to shut up after that. Every
time a certain kind
of philosophical question was asked
in class, everyone would turn to
look at me.
is truth?" would be the question and I
would answer: 'Truth
is relative because it is based
inherently on your perception and perception
is biased because it can only be based on a
limited amount of information at any given
time. For instance, I know from my
perception and scant knowledge of
theories of quantum physics and the like
that anything placed on the floor is
actually not touching the
floor though it appears to be. That
is my truth based on my perception
but it isn't the truth for someone
else who only knows that he or she
can touch the object in question, see
it and therefore think and
believe that it is touching the
floor. Neither person is right or
the clarification of Ode On A Grecian Urn -
'Is it actually an ode that he can see
engraved or carved on the urn or is it an
what's on the urn?' I can't believe no one
else thought about
that one before I brought it up
because trust me, when you read that
poem, it really doesn't clarify that
point for you. "Are the images in
the poem, the ones he's imagining or
the ones he is actually seeing on
the urn itself?" and more
importantly, "Why didn't anyone give
more competent editor, poor boy?"
through the third year, there were suddenly
questions. I mean, there were
questions, but they were the same ones.
There were ideas, theories, concepts but
they were the same ones. And so I grew
disenchanted. I am a little bit soft in the
head and I am different from most people my
age: I wanted to go to college to learn
something new not to just end up with
a piece of paper stating that I
had a degree.
degree has never been the important part of
me. That's probably why I am still
here studying, now about to start a
new year for my Honours thesis when
most of my former school friends
have graduated, started working and
grew frustrated. Here I was with two majors
in my degree and it
felt like the classes were starting
to drag because they were getting
repetitive with the material. There
had always been times when there
was information imparted like it was
gold dust or manna from heaven
and I'd be bored.
know about continental shifts, about
Hopkins bores me to tears, about soil
profiles and evapotranspiration and the
Asian Economic Crisis in 1998 that started
rethinking their predictions for
so I found myself sitting in class and doing
in my head for features in my fellow
classmates. That's how bored I
was. That's how horrendously bored I
am now. Even my Honours thesis is
failing to excite me.
truth is that I am now a little bit
absentminded. I take longer to respond to
things and to make decisions because I fear
part of my brain has shut itself down to due
to severe lack of new external
stimuli and information. Like a
computer, if I am not being used, my
brain goes into hibernation mode and
it scares the living daylights
out of me because I don't realise it
till someone says: 'You seem a
little dazed' or 'Why are you so
tired?' or 'What's taking you so
long?' or 'Didn't you realise someone
was talking to you?'
even comes out when I am trying to write an
article like this one. I started out
intending to tell you an anecdote about the
definitions of words and stories and
then talk to you about the second
Annual Galle Literary Festival which
started on January 16 and will continue
for a few days. And you should
be reading this while you are there.
But I ended up rambling instead.
helps however to illustrate my point about
stories. Any sentence
you write provided it is
grammatically correct is a story. Even the
happened." Because immediately you
yourself the questions: "Where
did nothing happen?", "Why did
happen and to whom and when?",
"Was anything expected to happen at
all?", and "There has to be
a story because something was expected
to happen and it didn't and someone
was there to observe the fact that
nothing happened and to report it as
such..." and there you go - you
have a story or the start of one at
I really wish it was
that easy because perhaps then I'd be
there at the Literary Festival
too brandishing a book and maybe I'd
be telling you these stories of
my college learning experiences for
you to laugh at in person.
now, because I am so woollyheaded, the
question of when that will happen, unlike
the other questions, I can't really answer.
I don't know if it will happen at all.
Perhaps that part of my brain
shut down a long time ago. Perhaps
it's just another dream for another
life - there are other things that
need to happen now.
you can live part of it for me. You can
waltz on down, take
part in the workshops, talk to the
authors, go to lectures and
readings, get books signed and do all
those wonderful things on my
behalf. And you'd better because
while you could be down there having all
that fun, I will be over here,
panicking about the year ahead of me.
patient says, "Give me the bad news first!"
replies, "You've got AIDS."
no! What could be worse than that?"
asks the patient.
also got Alzheimer's Disease."
relieved the patient says, "Oh...Well,
that's not so bad. At least I don't have
a courtroom, a purse snatcher is on trial and
the victim is stating what happened. She
says, "Yes, that is him. I saw him
clear as day. I'd remember his face
anywhere," at which point, the
defendant bursts out, "You couldn't see
my face, lady. I was wearing a mask!"
man comes home from an exhausting
day at work, plops down on the couch in
front of the television, and tells his wife,
"Get me a beer before it starts."
The wife sighs and gets him a beer. Fifteen
minutes later, he says, "Get me another
beer before it starts." She looks
cross, but fetches another beer and slams it
down next to him. He finishes that beer and
a few minutes later says, "Quick, get
me another beer, it's going to start any
minute." The wife is furious. She yells
at him "Is that all you're going to do
tonight? Drink beer and sit in front of that
TV? You're nothing but a lazy, drunken, fat
slob, and furthermore..." The man sighs
and says, "It's started ..."
use working too hard, no one notices
of a publishing firm are trying to
work out why no one noticed that one of
their employees had been sitting dead at his
desk for FIVE DAYS before anyone asked if he
was feeling okay. George Turklebaum, 51, who
had been employed as a proof-reader at a New
York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack
in the open-plan office he shared with 23
quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody
noticed until Saturday morning when an
office cleaner asked why he was still
working during the weekend. His boss Elliot
Wachiaski said: "George was always the
first guy in each morning and the last to
leave at night, so no one found it unusual
that he was in the same position all that
time and didn't say anything.
was always absorbed in his work and kept
much to himself." A post mortem
examination revealed that he had been dead
for five days after suffering a coronary.
Ironically, George was proofreading
manuscripts of medical textbooks when he
died. You may want to give your co-workers a
of the story: Don't work too hard. Nobody
drink and drive, get all of your drinking
done before you get behind the wheel. Don't
waste beer, there are sober people in India.
only time I refused a drink I didn't
understand the question.
is not a disease, it's a goal.
not an alcoholic unless you go to the
may not be able to walk, but I drive from
the sitting position.
talk to the driver while he's
morning, farmer Brodt woke up, looked
out of his bedroom window and saw that
his barn was on fire. He quick got on the
phone and called the local fire department.
When a fireman answered his call farmer
Brodt said, "This here is farmer Brodt.
My barn is on fire and I wondered if you
fireman said, "Yes sir, Mr. Brodt, how
do we get there?" and farmer Brodt
said, "Don't you have those little red
fire trucks no more?"
summer evening, during a violent thunderstorm,
a mother was tucking her small boy into bed.
She was about to turn off the light when he
asked with a tremor in his voice,
"Mommy, will you sleep with me
mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.
"I can't dear," she said, "I
have to sleep with Daddy."
long silence was broken at last by a shaken
little voice saying, "The big