Squint-correction surgery that put Baby
Vidumini to eternal sleep
Vidumini Emarsha: tears for a d
By Ranee Mohamed in Panthiya
is poverty as far as the eye could reach
here in this vast greenery called Panthiya,
off Dodangoda where there are houses
scattered here and there.
The home of Anura Sampath (29) and
Sumithra Kumari (29) which is surrounded by
water and paddy fields is now in a sea of
tears as they look around for their one and
a half year old daughter skipping unsteadily
But with the pitter-patter of her little
footsteps stalled and her eyes closed
forever, Vidumini Emarsha was laid to rest
on Wednesday, September 10 amidst the
heartbreak and tears of her parents and
mothers and fathers of this whole village.
As we climbed up the hillock leading to
their little house, we wondered about the
dangers that surrounded the home of this
little child. But her careful parents had
been protective and caring. So caring as to
monitor her every move and every change in
Not giving information
As the winding pathway, which as a safety
measure was strewn with paddy husk, took us
to the house, the plastic chairs and the
white flags told us that this was the house
we were looking for.
Getting here was not easy, with the
hospital authorities, the police post and
the staff at Ward 28 not giving any
information with regard to the whereabouts
of this young couple in distress.
But The Sunday Leader found the
way, and when we reached the peak of the
hillock, there sat a lone woman, she was
crying — crying uncontrollably and crying
alone. She did not notice that she had
She is no more
"If my baby was ill, then I will accept
that she is dead; if she went in for heart
surgery then we will try to live with the
fact that she is no more," cried Sumithra as
we reached her.
Without an introduction she went on
calling out to her little daughter…. "Here
….she was here with me by my side, just last
week. She was pleading with me for tea and
biscuits, and today she is no more," cried
this young mother.
Vidumini Imarsha, one and a half years of
age had been suffering from problems with
her vision due to a squint eye condition.
"From about December 2007 we took her to
the eye clinic at the Colombo South General
Hospital. She was prescribed special
spectacles and however difficult it was, we
tried to make her use the spectacles.
"The doctors there however advised us
that our child must undergo corrective
surgery, which we were told would take only
a few minutes. Once the doctor in charge,
under anaesthesia conducted an examination
of our child’s eyes. They asked us not to
give any food and they somehow managed to
coax my baby away from me and she was
brought back to me after a few minutes.
"We were asked to come for the surgery on
July 5 and when we took our child to the
Colombo South General Hospital we were told
that the doctor had gone overseas," recalled
The next date was September 5 and
Sumithra and Anura had taken the child to
hospital. "We had been asked not to give the
baby any food after 2 a.m. and we did not. I
was also told not to give the baby any milk
after 4 a.m. and I did not. Even though my
baby was crying asking for food, milk and
biscuits, I did not give any. I am
breastfeeding my little girl and I remember
her pleas and cries asking for my milk,"
said this mother in tears.
"When the doctors asked us whether the
child is well, we told them that our baby
suffered a slight indigestion yesterday.
Then they asked us whether the baby is okay
now and we said yes. A doctor placed a
stethoscope on our baby’s chest and then a
nurse came and wrung the crying child out of
my arms and took my baby away…" said
"I could hear my baby crying all the way.
As she was being taken she reached out to me
with her arms and cried Amma Amma,"
As the worried mother waited from 8.30
a.m. panic began to gradually replace the
concern as the ‘few minute surgery’ took as
long as an hour. Then it had taken two
"At 11. a.m. I asked them where is my
child and they told me that the surgery is
not yet complete. Then again when I asked
they did not say anything," remembered
Thunder and rain reigned that Friday
morning and it was in this pouring rain that
Anura Sampath and his mother-in-law Biso
Menike were making their way on a bicycle to
the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.
Drenched to the skin
They had been drenched to the skin, but
their main aim was to somehow get to the
hospital with the lunch packet that they had
brought for the breast feeding mother.
"When I reached the hospital, I saw my
wife crying near the operating theatre. She
told me that our baby had been wheeled away
and that she had tubes all over her face and
body and the doctors had told her that our
baby was not breathing. I could not believe
what I heard and my fears came out in the
form of agonised cries," said Anura Sampath.
Rushing to the ICU where they were told
that their child was being wheeled into,
Anura Sampath said that he saw his daughter
lying motionless. "There were two tubes
inserted into her nostrils, one near the
side of her neck and another somewhere near
her elbow and wrist. I also saw a heaving
sign in her chest but when I told the
doctors that she was breathing, they told me
that it was just the machine. They said that
my daughter’s heart had stopped and that
‘they were doing their best.’" When I walked
into the ICU I saw a doctor massage the
chest of our baby," recalled Anura Sampath.
Small black eruptions
"I could not help but notice that there
were small black eruptions all over my
baby’s hands and the soles of her feet. I
could not see her palms because they were
bandaged, but there were eruptions all over
her hands and her stomach seemed so
bloated," said Anura Sampath.
"They told me that they were doing their
best, as my baby’s heart had stopped. I
asked them how they could say they were
doing their best, when my baby had died. I
wanted to ask them how my baby’s heart
stopped in the first place," cried Sumithra
The doctors had then asked the
heartbroken couple whether they could remove
the tubes of the machine from the baby and
the agonised young couple had begged them
not to. "But they removed the tubes. That
was the end of our baby. Later we learnt
that her lungs had turned yellow," said
"When I asked the doctor in charge what
happened and how our baby died he told me
that this is a very rare incident that it
did not happen even once in 100,000 cases.
He also said that he received the news that
their baby died after he had performed three
"My husband was crying aloud and dashing
his head on the ground. They asked him to go
out of the premises," said Sumithra Kumari
but these young parents did not want to
leave their little baby with these strangers
in this strange place and go out.
"We did our best for our child, and see
what our so called ‘best’ has done for our
child. They took blood and urine, but I
wonder whether they actually tested the
baby’s blood and urine because we did not
receive these reports. If they told us that
they are unable to get these test done for
our baby, we would have got it done at a
private clinic. Once we did consult a
private doctor in Ward Place on their advice
by paying Rs.600," said Anura Sampath.
" If they had told us that our child was
unwell or that they could not get the tests
done, or that they were not sure or were
short staffed, then we would certainly have
not exposed our precious child to the risk
of death, but they did not tell us anything;
instead they asked us whether our baby is
okay and took her in for surgery," said the
"We are not doctors, we are not
anaesthetists and we are not nurses. As far
as we could see, our child was well and
healthy when we handed her over to the
nurses. In fact our child was asking for
food and water. There was nothing wrong with
her. They took away a baby who was crying
and kicking and gave us back her lifeless
body," cried Sumithra.
Pink of health
Anura Sampath’s mother, Chandra Karawita
said that young Vidumini Emarsha was a
naughty baby and was in the pink of health
when she left for the hospital. "I can still
recall her sprightly form," said Karawita in
Sumithra Kumari’s mother, Bisso Menike
crying uncontrollably said that she wanted
to tell the young couple not to take the
child for surgery because she believed the
baby was too young to undergo surgery. She
was such an active child, demanding tea and
biscuits from me all through the day," said
Losing a child is a nightmare and for
this poor couple, this nightmare has come
true in the form of alleged medical
The villagers here in Panthiya now
believe that it is far better to stay awake
and suffer with their numerous ailments
rather than go in search of remedies which
they believe could send them to eternal
sleep, for every morning they are awoken to
the cries of young Sumithra Kumari and Anura
Sampath as they go to see their baby, who
instead of lying in bed beside them covered
with their old bedsheet, now lies in a
corner of their backyard, covered by sand
and cement — a sad reminder of the muddy
depths to which medical negligence in this
country has plunged.
The other side
When The Sunday Leader called the
Director of the Colombo South Teaching
Hospital we were told that the ‘Director
is away at the Ministry."
When we asked to speak to the deputy
director to get their side of the story,
the deputy director said that we will
have to speak to the director as regards
the case of Baby Vidumini.
When we asked to speak to a doctor
associated with the happening, we were
told that doctors are not authorised to
speak to newspapers without the approval
of the director of the hospital.
When we tried to contact the director
again, we were told that he is at a
meeting at the ministry.
Police Dept. celebrates
The Mounted Police
The Police Department entrusted with the
arduous task of safeguarding the interests
of the general public by maintaining law and
order, is stepping into its 142nd year with
pride and a sense of satisfaction.
In a broad sense the police service
involves curbing and detecting crime,
robberies and corruption, and facilitating
the smooth movement of vehicles. Although it
is well known that the British established
the police service as an organised force in
the island of Ceylon there is evidence to
indicate that a service, similar to the
police, was in existence from the time of
our ancient kings.
During ancient times, the historic
testimonies of King Udaya II state that by
the order of the king, local councils with
administrative powers with special emphasis
on maintenance of law and order, were
established. The mudliyar was the
chief minister with various officers serving
under him as divisional government agents —
Ratemahaththayas, Mohotties and
Korales. These officers rendered a
dedicated service comparatively in line with
the present day police service.
Police stations introduced
In 1796 after the British captured the
coastal areas of Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, the
police service was introduced to the country
and enforced gradually and
systematically. As per the Gazette
notification of July 9, 1806 under
regulation No.6 tax collectors from
different districts were appointed as
Police Vidanes’ for the purpose of peace
keeping. They were empowered to arrest
unscrupulous personnel and inspect
suspicious places and were vested with the
authority to earn 10% of the value of the
stolen items recovered by them.
Furthermore, on August 19, 1806 as per
Regulation No.14, under the leadership of a
chief police constable, 28 police constables
were appointed and deployed in towns and its
vicinity. At the inception, police
constables were placed in the city of
Colombo for security services. Subsequently,
the service was extended to Negombo, Galle,
Kandy and Trincomalee. Police powers
were further strengthened as per the 1934
Police Order by Act No.3 enacted on May 22,
1934 which replaced Regulation No.14 of
In 1833, the rank of the Chief Police
Officer was changed to Police Superintendent
and in 1863 to that of Chief Police
Superintendent. In 1867 as per Police Order
Act No.16 this rank was confirmed as
Inspector General of Police (IGP).
George William Robinson Campbell had the
privilege of being appointed the first
Inspector General of Police (IGP) on
September 3, 1866, which date is celebrated
as Police Day. At that time 47 police
stations were functioning manned by 585
officers. At the request of the then
Governor, Srimath Hercules Robinson, the
services of Campbell from Bombay was secured
to restructure the police service in
He possessed nine years of wide
experience, serving as the Chief of the
Bombay Rathngherry Rangers Police which was
considered an exemplary police station
providing an efficient service.
New uniforms and systems
Campbell introduced a new uniform for
police officers and implemented systems of
submitting official reports, Gazette
notifications once in three months,
insurance schemes and methods of maintenance
of crime rate reports, issue of annual
administrative reports and on various other
The Police Headquarters and the Police
Hospital were built in Maradana in 1869. In
1872 the Police Band was formed and in 1883,
a Riot Squad was established at the Kew
barracks in Slave Island.
In 1913, M.L. Doubgin aged 33 years was
appointed as IGP and did yeomen service for
24 years. He introduced many divisions such
as the Crimes Inquiry Division, Police
Savings Society, Police Public Relations
Division, Police Training School,
Photography and Technical Section, Child
Welfare Section, etc.
He also created the post of Deputy
Inspector General. This period was
recognised as the ‘golden era’ of the
In 1947 Sir Richard Aluvihare was
honoured by being appointed the first Sri
Lankan Inspector General of Police and
thereafter this rank was always held by a
Sri Lankan. During this time, the police
force had a strength of 5,280 personnel. The
training school which was situated at
Bambalapitiya was relocated at Katukurunda,
Kalutara, that same year.
Since then, the police executed their
services under the leadership of a Sri
Lankan and the force was composed entirely
of Sri Lankans. From then the services
rendered by the police were considered as a
welfare service to the public at large.
In order to control the enormous number
of vehicles entering the highways on a daily
basis and to prevent accidents and protect
property prone to accidents, a separate
police contingent was functioning under the
direct supervision of a Deputy Inspector
General of Police (DIG).
To ensure an uninterrupted, methodical
and smooth flow of vehicles a separate unit
at each of the police stations, island wide,
was incorporated. In addition, all motor
vehicle sections under the purview of the
police were administered successfully by a
Senior Gazetted Officer under the direct
supervision of the respective DIG of Police
in each district. Further, the police
extended their services by educating the
general public on various ways and means of
proper and safe use of the highway and
methods of accident free driving.
A separate section has been set up to
prevent, monitor and detect crimes in all
police stations. All DIGs are entrusted with
the task of minimising the crime rate in
every police station. A District Crime
Prevention Branch functions under the
respective Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)
or the Superintendent of Police (SP).
In Colombo a SP is in charge of the unit
that investigates crimes against women and
children. Apart from this, if a person wants
to lodge an entry in a police station in
Colombo regarding a crime that occurred
outstation, then this facility too is
available where a woman police constable
will attend to the matter maintaining
confidentiality, at a safe place, to avoid
anything adverse to the complainant while
the informant’s anonymity is protected.
To eradicate the escalating menace of
drug addiction, the police has set up a
separate Anti Narcotics Division. It is
compulsory that every police officer is duty
bound to be vigilant in this regard to
prevent and take necessary action and save
people from this social curse. Any person
desiring to give information to the police
anonymously, could do so either at the
police station or by calling the emergency
An informant providing accurate
information will be of immense value and
would facilitate the prevention and
detection of crime. Persons providing
information are rewarded as a means of
To safeguard the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of our country in view
of the war against terrorism, a Special Task
Force (STF) with special training was
established in 1983. The expertise of the
STF was utilised to provide security to the
east, security in Colombo, VIP security,
diffusing bombs, etc.
As per Act No.17 of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the
National Police Commission (NPC) was formed.
Recruitment of all officers (other than the
IGP), transfers, promotions, disciplinary
action and interdictions are the sole
responsibility of the NPC which has been
bestowed with full autonomy. Due to this, a
satisfactory degree of independence was
created in the execution of duties by the
Today, the police service is commanded
by Jayantha Wickremaratne, the 31st IGP. His
focus is to steer the police to be a public
friendly and people oriented service in the
best interests of the people of the country,
in defiance of foreigners’ motive of
economic exploitation at the expense of our
country. At present the police force
consists of approximately 74,000 officers in
39 divisional districts, 411 police stations
and 60 active police divisions.
The IGP is focusing on ensuring an
indispensable, sincere, people friendly and
people oriented service as the police is a
part of society that cannot be separated
from the people. The police and the public
are well aware of these sentiments. Any
person with a dispute could seek redress
from the police. A healthy environment and
the right attitude from both parties with
diplomacy and understanding will bring about
a satisfactory and lasting solution.
The police has an ambitious mission, i.e.
to be acclaimed by the public as a dignified
police service by end 2009, and intends
achieving this mission through public
relations and instilling in the minds of
people and the police the concept that the
‘public are the police’ and the ‘police are
the public.’ All arrangements are being made
by the Director, Police Public Relations and
his staff to achieve the aspirations of the
IGP and to make this concept a reality
within the given time frame.
Today, with the Police Department
celebrating its 142nd year, the Regular
Police, STF, Civil Security Force Officers
and Police Assistant Service Officers are
determined to eliminate terrorism and
corruption and bring about a peaceful and
disciplined era to our motherland.
We thank all officers for their fullest
cooperation rendered at all times. We also
remember with respect and gratitude our
fellow officers who have sacrificed their
precious lives while executing their duties,
and while in action to save our motherland
from the clutches of our enemy.
— SSP Ranjith Gunesekera
Director, Police Public Relations
The Big Bang
The Big Bang is the cosmological model of
the Universe that is best supported by all
lines of scientific evidence and
observation. The essential idea is that the
universe has expanded from a primordial hot
and dense initial condition at some finite
time in the past and continues to expand to
this day. Georges Lemaître proposed what
became known as the Big Bang theory of the
origin of the Universe, although he called
it his ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom.’
The framework for the model relies on
Albert Einstein’s General Relativity as
formulated by Alexander Friedmann. After
Edwin Hubble discovered in 1929 that the
distances to far away galaxies were
generally proportional to their redshifts,
this observation was taken to indicate that
all very distant galaxies and clusters have
an apparent velocity directly away from our
The apparent velocity
The farther away, the higher the apparent
velocity. If the distance between galaxy
clusters is increasing today, everything
must have been closer together in the past.
This idea has been considered in detail back
in time to extreme densities and
temperatures, and large particle
accelerators have been built to experiment
on and test such conditions, resulting in
significant confirmation of the theory. But
these accelerators can only probe so far
into such high energy regimes.
Without any evidence associated with the
earliest instant of the expansion, the Big
Bang theory cannot and does not provide any
explanation for such an initial condition,
rather explaining the general evolution of
the Universe since that instant. The
observed abundances of the light elements
throughout the cosmos closely match the
calculated predictions for the formation of
these elements from nuclear processes in the
rapidly expanding and cooling first minutes
of the universe, as logically and
quantitatively detailed according to Big
Fred Hoyle is credited with coining the
phrase ‘Big Bang’ during a 1949 radio
broadcast, as a derisive reference to a
theory he did not subscribe to. Hoyle later
helped considerably in the effort to figure
out the nuclear pathway for building certain
heavier elements from lighter ones. After
the discovery of the cosmic microwave
background radiation in 1964, and especially
when its collective frequencies sketched out
a blackbody curve, most scientists were
fairly convinced by the evidence that some
Big Bang scenario must have occurred.
Largest experiment in history
Laura MacInnis Scientists said
they simply didn’t know what surprises
might emerge when they started up the
Large Hadron Collider, the world’s
biggest and most complex machine which
until Wednesday lay benignly in its
underground home on the outskirts of
Perhaps crashing together millions of
particles at close to the speed of light
would replicate the conditions just
after the Big Bang that created the
Perhaps the high-energy collisions,
which will generate temperatures more
than 100,000 times than the heart of the
sun, would lay to rest an unproven
theory of physics.
And maybe, just maybe, the largest
scientific experiment in human history
would produce some anti-matter, or
miniature black holes that would quickly
"The most exciting result would be
something we don’t expect," British
physicist Stephen Hawking said on the
eve of the tightly sealed machine’s
start-up, echoing his scientific peers
who bubbled over with enthusiasm about
the prospect of finally cracking more of
the universe’s mysteries once data
starts spewing from the physics
playground at CERN, the European
Organisation for Nuclear Research.
But not everyone likes surprises.
For non-scientists, the scale and
ambition of the 10-billion Swiss franc
($9 billion) project seem unnerving.
The possibility of creating black holes
simply sound scary.
Many people allow themselves to ask,
are there limits to what science should
seek to find out? Will this
experiment result in the end of the
world as we know it, or even bring about
the end of the world?
Millions of people were first
introduced to CERN reading "Angels and
Demons," the prequel to The Da Vinci
Code, in which bad guys try to steal
anti-matter from the ultra-modern
research centre to destroy the Vatican.
But the start-up of the Large Hadron
Collider on Wednesday proceeded without
the drama or adrenaline of a Dan Brown
novel. Project director Lyn Evans
even wore jeans and running
shoes for the occasion.
So without a Big Bang of a start, we
all may have to sit back with another
book and wait to see what mysteries
particle physics eventually beholds.
Big Bang experiment
Physicists around the world, in Geneva,
some in pajamas and others with champagne,
celebrated the first tests last Wednesday of
a huge particle-smashing machine they hope
will simulate the "Big Bang" that created
Experiments using the underground Large
Hadron Collider, or LHC, the biggest and
most complex machine ever made, could revamp
modern physics and unlock secrets about the
universe and its origins.
Staff in the control room on the border
of Switzerland and France clapped as two
beams of particles were sent silently, first
one way and then the other around the LHC’s
17-mile (27-km) underground chamber.
"Things can go wrong at any time," said
project leader Lyn Evans, who wore jeans and
running shoes for the LHC’s debut.
"But this morning we had a great start."
It will be weeks or months before two
particles ever crash together in the giant
tube, and even longer before scientists can
interpret results, said Jos Engelen, chief
scientific officer of CERN, the European
Organisation for Nuclear Research.
"Anything between a year and four years,
depending on how difficult this new physics
is to find," Engelen said.
Pajama-clad scientists calling themselves
"Nerds in Nightshirts" partied at the Fermi
National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia,
Illinois as they waited late into the night
for the first signals from the 10 billion
Swiss franc (9 billion dollar) machine.
The first blip came soon after the LHC
was switched on at 9.30 a.m. CERN time, 1.30
a.m. in Batavia, home of the Tevatron, which
still lays claim to being the highest energy
particle collider until the LHC starts
The world didn’t end
Physicists brushed off suggestions that
the experiment could create tiny black holes
that could suck in the planet.
"The worries that scientists had were
nothing to do with being swallowed up by
black holes and everything to do with
technical hitches or electronic failure,"
said Jim al-Khalili, a physicist at
Britain’s University of Surrey.
"Now, after a collective sigh of relief,
the real fun starts," al-Khalili said. "No
matter what we find, we will be unlocking
the secrets of the Universe."
The LHC will send beams of subatomic
particles called protons whizzing around the
tube at just under the speed of light.
The hope is they will smash into one
another and explode in a burst of new and
previously unseen types of particles —
recreating on a miniature scale the heat and
energy of the Big Bang that gave birth to
the Universe 13.7 billion years ago.
At full speed the LHC will engineer 600
million collisions every second. Data will
be transmitted via a network called ‘The
Grid’ to scientists at 170 institutions in
A theoretical particle
"It is sort of a virtual United Nations,"
said Michael Tuts, a physics professor at
Columbia University in New York and
programme manager for 400 U.S. physicists
working on one LHC project.
The experiments could confirm the
existence of the Higgs Boson, a theoretical
particle named after Peter Higgs, who first
proposed it in 1964.
Also referred to as the "God Particle,"
the Higgs Boson could help explain how
matter has mass. "I think it’s pretty
likely" that it will be found, Higgs told
reporters at the University of Edinburgh,
where he is a retired professor of physics.
Scientists halted the particle beam’s
counter-clockwise spin temporarily on
Wednesday afternoon after problems with the
machine’s magnets caused its temperature to
CERN officials said such minor glitches
were to be expected given the intricacy of
the machine, which is cooled to minus 271.3
degrees Celsius (minus 456.3 degrees
— Robert Evans
through contrasting spheres
By Risidra Mendis
She is an animal lover who
someday wanted to be a veterinary surgeon
and treat sick and wounded animals. During
her youth she kept thinking of the future
and her role as a veterinary surgeon —
helping and saving the lives of many
innocent animals. However her plans to
become a veterinary surgeon changed
somewhere down the line and she ended up as
a successful businesswoman.
Odel Unlimited CEO, Otara
Gunewardene is synonymous with fashion,
designer wear, modelling and elegance. She
has succeeded in becoming one of the most
successful businesswomen in Sri Lanka while
her shop Odel is frequented by both locals
Having started Odel on a
small scale many years ago, Gunewardene has
today succeeded in expanding her outlets and
its products to meet the growing demands of
But despite her passion
to further develop her business she has not
forgotten the love she had for animals from
her young days. Despite her busy schedule of
running a successful business Gunewardene
has found the time to help out with animal
welfare activities while working with animal
rights groups. A special section at Odel is
dedicated to animals and animal lovers,
selling products with the ‘Embark’ trade
mark and the profits from the sales of these
products are utilised for animal welfare.
For her contribution
toward bettering the lives of animals
through Embark, Gunewardene was appointed
ambassador for Sri Lanka for World Animal
Speaking to The Sunday
Leader she said from the time she was
two or three years old she could remember
having many animals in her home. "We had
guinea pigs, birds, rabbits, ducks and of
course dogs. I was interested in wildlife
and even worked at the zoo as a volunteer at
the age of 15 for two years. My job was to
handle the pets at the pet corner for
children," she said.
Change of plans
Commenting on her earlier
plans to be a veterinary surgeon Gunewardene
said she went to the US and obtained a
degree in biology. "While studying for my
degree I modelled in the US for six months.
When I returned to Sri Lanka I continued
with modelling and at the same time started
my own business. But as the business
developed I realised that I couldn’t handle
modelling and the business. So I gave up
modelling and continued to develop the
business," she explained.
From the day Odel was
opened 11 years ago Gunewardene had a
counter where T-shirts on wildlife were
sold. All proceeds from those sales went to
the Wildlife Trust Fund. "I was also
involved in environment protection
programmes such as beach clean ups, projects
concerning leopards and the Bundala National
Park cleaning programme where weeds were
removed among other activities," she said.
Explaining the purpose of
Embark Gunewardene said it was better to
stay focused on one project and improve that
instead of getting involved in many projects
at the same time and losing focus.
Embark was launched in
March 2007 and has worked with the community
in helping to curb the threat of rabies and
the ever increasing stray dog population in
Embark believes that the
only way to reduce cruelty faced by stray
dogs is by controlling the growth of their
population. Embark has so far conducted four
sterilisation campaigns for stray and
community dogs and has managed to spay and
neuter 1350 stray dogs within Colombo.
The standards of these mobile clinics
are in line with the World Health
Organisation’s protocols through which the
method used — CNVR — Catch, Neuter,
Vaccinate, Release is approved, she
These campaigns are made
possible through sales of Embark merchandise
at Odel stores. Embark that started on a
small scale with T-shirts, caps and a few
dog accessories has developed today into a
wide range of products such as dog bowls,
cloth bags, soft toys, dog accessories and a
new line of stationery.
Gunewardene’s latest work
on animal welfare includes coming to the
rescue of two dogs — Suddhi and Browny.
While driving on Balapokuna Road after a
visit to the Odel outlet in Kohuwela she
came across Browny, 12 years old, who had a
fracture on his front leg. He was infected
with mange and had wounds on his body.
Browny was not a stray.
He had an owner who couldn’t afford the
medical bills. On the instructions of
Gunewardene, Embark personnel, on June 10,
rescued Browny and took him to a
veterinarian after informing his owner.
Browny was released after
treatment for mange, his left front leg
fracture and three lump surgeries on August
5. Embark spent nearly Rs.42,000 to treat
Browny. Browny’s owners were advised on
responsible pet ownership prior to the dog
being handed over. Browny was given a new
lease of life thanks to Embark and Otara
Gunewardene’s love of animals.
Suddhi is a three legged
dog. When Embark personnel found her, she
was barely alive, clinging to life under an
abandoned car. With a festering wound on her
right forepaw, helpless and unable to move,
her long, sad face depicted the agony she
was undergoing. "It was obvious she had not
eaten for a few days as we could see her
bones jutting through the thin layer of
skin. She looked as if she’d given up all
hopes of survival," Embark personnel said.
"It was around 8.30 pm
when a kind hearted lady customer of Odel
called to inform us about this injured dog.
Ironically she was lying beneath a car in a
garage near the Odel Head Office in
Rajagiriya. We realised that the accident
must have happened a few days ago as her
condition had worsened," another Embark
They had immediately
called a mobile pet service in Colombo. The
stench of decomposing flesh emanating from
the injured dog was difficult to bear but
the unpleasant odour was overlooked as she
was rushed to the vet clinic. However her
crushed front paw and leg had to be
amputated. She also underwent further
treatment for multiple conditions, Embark
They added that the lack
of food and liquid during her days of
immobility had weakened her considerably and
had made her recovery painstakingly slow.
Kept under constant professional care, her
condition gradually improved and Embark had
spent Rs.69,000 on her treatment. Her shiny,
white coat resulted in her being named
Although Embark does not
have a transit home or a sanctuary for
homeless animals, it has proved its purpose
when it comes to helping animals in
Today, Suddhi — the
three-legged dog has fully recovered and is
happily adapting to her new life, thanks to
everyone who has contributed toward Embark.
The three months of care by Embark has made
her strong and given her a new lease of
life. "We are sure she is saying ‘Thank you
Embark,’ in her own doggy woof, woof
language," Embark personnel said.
Embark has implemented
this concept of inducting young,
enthusiastic animal lovers, through its own
volunteer circle. This circle comprises more
than 100 volunteers and has been part of the
success of Embark’s campaign. Throughout the
past months, the volunteer circle has made a
tremendous effort toward raising funds for
Embark will continue to
focus on the reduction of the stray dog
population, making rabies a thing of the
past, treating injured animals and educating
the public. Future plans of Embark include
media campaigns to create awareness on the
wellbeing of animals.
Farewells and back to boredom
Kahlil Gibran wrote, "My house says to
me, ‘Do not leave me, for
here dwells your past.’ And the road says to
me, ‘Come and follow me, for I am your
future.’ And I say both to my house and the
road, ‘I have no past, nor have I a future.
If I stay here, there is a going in my
staying; and if I go, there is a staying in
my going.’" Clever chappie, he’s got
it all figured out.
The kids have left after tearful
farewells, and I’m trying to console myself
that it is what’s best for them. It does
make sense though, doesn’t it? If they stay,
they are letting go of their future in a
sense, and although they go, they leave a
large part of them behind and it stays on
So, this house is gonna reverberate,
rattle and throb since I’m going to put on
my favourite rock and jazz CDs and fill it
with lots of noisy, but tuneful sound! So
far, the neighbours haven’t complained. I do
like silence, peace and quiet, but now it
seems really oppressive!
The weather suits my mood, grey, gloomy
and chilly. Ain’t no sunshine when they’re
gone! Enough of moaning now, a funny thing
happened. The day before they left, we
bumped into this very humorous gentleman. So
he asked if they were all ready to get back.
I said, yes, but they are a bit overweight
(referring to their luggage).
Gales of laughter
"Aaah, yes, I know when you are on
holiday here, you tend to eat more than
usual and put on weight and get bigger." We
all stared at him in puzzlement for a
moment, and then it dawned on us what he was
We burst into gales of laughter and
explained about their bags. He proceeded to
put his whole foot into his mouth and said,
"No, no you don’t look fat at all!" That
made us laugh even harder, and he quickly
mumbled something about an emergency at home
and beat a hasty retreat!
Dancing Doll just called and informed me
that she’s left her computer cable behind.
Lovely! I’ll have to devise a method of
getting it across to her, pronto. Apparently
the dogs were waiting in the garden after we
drove of to the airport and had to be bodily
carried off to bed.
I secretly think that is the maid’s
imagination working overtime; apparently she
understands what they are thinking and
saying! So evidently, they knew the kids had
One thing I’ve noticed is their guy pals
give them very interesting and most intimate
gifts! In our time, we were asked
specifically not to accept gifts from guys
unless it was a birthday gift. Apparently it
sent the wrong signals and was not the Done
Nowadays there are no such inhibitions,
I’m glad to say. Most of it is in fun and to
make them laugh, anyway. So the thought
behind it is kind, though some of it is very
When I was complaining that it was going
to be really dreary without them, Dancing
Doll said, "What are you grumbling about
men? You’re living here in the lap of luxury
with maids and drivers etc.!" As if! Still
it will be dreary!
Clearing the mess
So now, whilst we are stripping their
beds and clearing the mess they left behind,
they are clearing over there. Apparently
they left too soon after their exams to be
able to tidy up. So their rooms are in a
total mess! Just now, they both were doing
their laundry. Thank God for modern
communication and technology or else I would
really have gone totally bonkers!
Last night, it was horrible to drive in
and see their rooms in darkness. Normally,
they both come in and question me how my
evening was and catch up with all the juicy
gossip. Now it’s too late when I come in to
Luckily, they have friends there and so
are having a jolly time reuniting with them.
I could hear lots of shrieking and gales of
laughter in the background when I called,
and I’m glad.
I have planned to do lots of things, but
strangely, when they return on holiday, I
still haven’t done half of it! I wonder why?
I can’t help it, can I, if people find me so
fascinating and keep calling me to go out
with them or just chatting to them. I’m glad
I have good friends!
Honky Tonk Woman
Real English notices from around the
. In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day.
During that time we
regret that you will be unbearable.
. In a Leipzig elevator:
Do not enter the lift backwards, and only
when lit up.
. In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for
wishing floor. If the cabin should enter
more persons, each one should press a number
of wishing floor. Driving is then going
alphabetically by national order.
. In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front
. In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the
office between the
hours of 9 and 11 am daily.
. In a Yugoslavian hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure
is the job of the
. In a Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the
. In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across
from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery
where famous Russian and Soviet composers,
artists, and writers are buried daily except
. On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
. On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet
soup with cheesy
dumplings in the form of a finger;
roasted duck let loose;
beef rashers beaten up in the country
. Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
. In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s:
Drop your trousers here for best results.
. Outside a Paris dress shop:
Dresses for street walking.
. In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summer’s suit. Because is big
rush we will execute customers in strict
. A sign posted in Germany’s Black
It is strictly forbidden on our Black
Forest camping site that people of different
sex, for instance men and women, live
together in one tent unless they are married
with each other for that purpose.
. In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of
entertaining guests of the opposite sex in
the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby
be used for this purpose.
. In an advertisement by a Hong Kong
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
. In a Rome laundry:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend
the afternoon having a good time.
. In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours —
we guarantee no miscarriages.
. In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today — no ice cream.
. In a Bangkok temple:
It is forbidden to enter a woman, even a
foreigner if dressed as a man.
. In a Tokyo bar:
Special cocktails for the ladies with
. In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all
. On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR,
you are welcome to it.
. In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children
in the bar.
. In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you
have any suitable food, give it to the guard
. In the office of a Roman doctor:
Specialist in women and other diseases.
. In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the
water served here.
. In a Tokyo shop:
Our nylons cost more than common, but
you’ll find they are best in the long run.
. From a Japanese information booklet
about using a hotel air
Cooles and Heates: If you want just
condition of warm in your room, please