The Naked Flame
success in ashes - Hearts afire - businesses
blowing away with the wind
By Ranee Mohamed
naked flame had on Tuesday licked away their
most precious possessions in life - that
which brought them a livelihood.
As the flames refused to respond neither to
tears nor water, this little community of
clothes merchants stood together staring at
the dark sweltering left-overs which once
were their brand new shops, all dressed up
with even newer clothes.
As the tears streamed down their stained
faces they had only the clothes they were
wearing to wipe them away. For the
hardworking cloth-sellers of Pamunuwa in
Maharagama, Tuesday, January 27 was a day of
heartburn - one which they will never
"This is twenty six lakhs worth of ready
made clothing and belongings that you see
here," said young Sujeewa Rukman, pointing
out to the ashes amidst the sequins and the
gold thread. Along with him were H.N.D.
Fonseka, P.S.D. Silva, Yamuna and several
others who tried to put their loss and
heartache into words, but choked on them
Just like any other day
Tuesday, just like any other day had been a
day of toil and exhaustion. Starting their
5 a.m. these cloth-merchants of Sudusu Bazaar had continued their
persuasion and poor sales with the
bargaining crowds that thronged here.
"We can shout our throats hoarse, we can
explain our difficulties in the most
pathetic tones, but some customers just walk
away. Our lives were never easy," they said.
But it was not the difficult customers and
the hard life that had eventually caused
them the deepest pain, it was the
unexplained fire that destroyed their lives
that made them cry in desperation.
We are desperate
"We are desperate we do not know what to do.
We were not insured; we have never thought
about insurance till this great devastation
took place. Everyone asks us whether we were
insured," they cried as they fought to deal
with the dark losses staring at their faces.
"We open our shops at
5 a.m. and close at
1 p.m. Tuesday had been just another day,
till someone had noticed smoke winding its
way out of one of the closed shops. The
people around tried in desperation to alert
the owners, but no one seemed to be around,"
explained neighbours from nearby shops.
"I had skirts, blouses, shalwar kameez', my
bank details, cheques that had been
returned, my credit books recording details
amounting to several lakhs inside my shop.
All these possessions are now in ashes,"
said young Sujeewa as he cried out loud
amidst the crowd. With his identity card and
passport amidst the ashes, a newer, harder
life seemed to beckon this young man who
said that he had invested all his monies in
this little shop.
Appeal to the authorities
"I really do not know what to do, where to
go to. I appeal to the authorities to help
me. I appeal to anyone to please help me
because I really do not know what to do."
"Just last week I was a big businessman and
today I am penniless, without money for a
meal," said Sujeewa.
P.S.D. Silva who had left the Paddy
Marketing Board had invested his
compensation in this clothes shop in Sudusu
Bazaar. But on Tuesday his investment was
stolen. "Amidst the fire some 'good
samaritans' had wanted to 'save' my shop and
had broken into it and taken all the things
out," said Silva.
But the shoes, slippers and handbags that
were taken out of his shop were never found.
For Silva, the loss is worse, while others
got to see the ashes of their possessions,
Silva had to stare at the empty spaces in
his shop and wonder how all his goods had
disappeared into thin air amidst the raging
fire. It will be a question on his mind for
as long as he lives - what happened to the
goods in his shop. If the fire had not taken
them away - then who did?
For W.N.M. Chandrawathie too the fire had
wreaked havoc in her life - and inside her
shop too. Her shop No. 5 is now empty.
"I had this shop for six years and it was
not the fire that has sent me to the streets
but the 'good samaritans' who wanted to save
my things from being reduced to ashes.
During the fire, some people had broken the
lock of my shop and moved my things out.
They had said that they wanted to save my
shop, but now I cannot find my things. Even
the fan is gone." cried Chandrawathie,
showing us her empty shop.
It was amazing how a shop could have been
laid bare this way and in the midst of a
great burning threat too. But it seems
nothing could have stopped the burning
"The clothes in my shop are not my own. I
have to pay the people who give me their
products to sell. I am suicidal because I
have a daughter who is studying overseas.
How on earth am I going to pay her fees,"
cried this mother in desperation.
Yamuna too has lost all the things in her
shop - the t-shirts, skirts, skinnies are
all gone. "I do a wholesale business here
and I have to pay the people who have
trusted me enough to keep their items here
for sale," said Yamuna.
Prabath Koskumbura of the Matara Gamme Kade
stood on the Old Road opposite the High
Level Road in Maharagama. "I have no place
to go. This is my hotel that you see," he
cried showing us the chairs thrown across
one another. "I fed everyone here for nine
years. People would get off buses and come
here for a cup of tea and a snack, people
waiting for a bus here would walk in here,"
"I cannot imagine how everything can be
destroyed without a warning. This must be a
nightmare. How can a fire come this way and
destroy my hotel? I had the presence of mind
to take out the gas cylinders. My staff and
customers ran out of the hotel as the fire
raged through the roof. I broke down on the
floor and wailed as I watched the investment
of my life being caught in a raging flame,"
said Prabath. "Is there anyone to help us? I
have not insured this hotel. I have no
savings. This was my sole source of
livelihood," said Prabath as he stood amidst
the debris of broken cups and sauces and
As some of the businessman tried hard to
bring themselves to clear up their
half-burnt brand new clothes, yet others
said that they did not want to do so till
some authority came in to question them and
help them out with some compensation. But
two days later, without a single visit from
the authorities, reality seemed to be
dawning on them - that their loss is their
own - one which they will have to live with
for the rest of their lives.
Each person here have their own commitments,
their own dues and now with all their hopes
reduced to ash, these people of Pamunuwa are
fighting the tears and trying hard to face
the reality that this naked flame that raged
in unannounced has reduced their lives to
Reflections on the
61st Independence Day of Sri Lanka
By Shezna Shums
This week Sri Lanka celebrates its 61st
Independence Day on February 4, marking the
end of colonial rule.
In the years after independence this little
island has been through much, both tragic
and happy that have shaped the country's
history after independence.
Independence Day celebrations will be held
all over the world where Sri Lanka has
What are people's expectations as they usher
in another Independence Day? It is most
likely that hundreds of thousands of
displaced persons will be still homeless and
living in poverty and fear war or no war.
The children and mothers of this island will
wonder when they will see a true end to the
war and see their fathers and sons safely
While celebrating this Independence Day, the
citizens of this country will have a lot to
contemplate and pray for - peace, better
education, health and opportunities.
As we said goodbye to colonial rule 61
years ago we took on the responsibility of
building this country and as we look back
today there seems to be yet a long way to go
before we can say that Sri Lanka is truly
the 'Paradise Isle' it sure wants to be.
The country prior to the year 1972, was
known as Ceylon. With the new constitution
in 1972 it became a republic and took the
name Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
For more than a century and a half Sri Lanka
was a British crown colony but on February
4, 1948 the country achieved its
independence, a few months after
neighbouring India achieved hers.
Following the granting of independence Don
Stephen Senanayake became Sri Lanka's first
February 4, 1948
each year Independence Day celebrations have
been held on a grand scale. The celebrations
usually begin with the hoisting of the
national flag and singing of the national
anthem, followed by the traditional lighting
of the oil lamp. Subsequently military
parades are conducted and various events
held around the island.
The national day holds much significance for
the people of Sri Lanka as it reflects the
great sacrifices made by many Sri Lankans
towards the attainment of freedom.
It is also a day to pay tribute to the armed
forces that play a major role in defending
the country's freedom. Today they are
engaged in fighting a war so that all
citizens of the country can live safely.
The British negotiated the island's dominion
status with the Leader of the State Council,
D.S. Senanayake, following the end of World
War II. Senanayake was also minister of
agriculture and vice chairman of the board
The negotiations ended with the Ceylon
Independence Act of 1947, which formalised
the transfer of power.
Senanayake was the founder and leader of the
United National Party (UNP), a partnership
of many disparate groups formed during the
Donoughmore period, including the Ceylon
National Congress, the Sinhala Maha Sabha,
and the Muslim League.
The UNP easily won the 1947 elections,
challenged only by a collection of small,
primarily leftist parties.
On February 4, 1948, when the new
constitution came into effect (making Sri
Lanka a dominion), the UNP embarked on its
period of rule.
Divisions in the body politic
The prospects for an economically robust,
fully participatory, and manageable
democracy looked good during the first years
In contrast to
which had gained independence a year
earlier, there was no violence and little
social unrest. In Sri Lanka there was also
a good measure of government continuity.
Still, unresolved ethnic problems soon
reared its head and had to be addressed.
The most immediate of these problems was the
"Indian question," which concerned the
political status of Tamil immigrants who
worked on the highland tea plantations.
The Soulbury Commission had left this
sensitive question to be resolved by the
After independence, debate about the status
of the Indian Tamils continued.
But three pieces of legislation - the Ceylon
Citizenship Act of 1948; the Indian and
Pakistani Residents Act No. 3 of 1948, and
the Ceylon Parliamentary Elections Amendment
Act No. 48 of 1949 - all but disenfranchised
this minority group.
The Ceylon Indian Congress vigorously but
unsuccessfully opposed the legislation. The
acrimonious debate over the laws of 1948 and
1949 revealed serious fissures in the body
There was a cleavage along ethnic lines
between the Sinhalese and the Tamils, and
also a widening rift between Sri Lankan
Tamils and Indian Tamils.
In 1949 a faction of the Ceylon Tamil
Congress (the major Tamil party in Sri Lanka
at the time) broke away to form the (Tamil)
Federal Party under the leadership of S.J.V.
The creation of the Federal Party was a
momentous post independence development
because it set the agenda for Tamil
exclusivity in Sri Lankan politics.
Soon after its founding, the Federal Party
replaced the more conciliatory Tamil
Congress as the major party among Sri Lankan
Tamils and advocated an aggressive stance
vis-…-vis the Sinhalese. With an equally
aggressive response by way of 'Sinhala Only'
legislation the stage was set for trouble.
The rest of the story, as they say, is
as a fun activity
Why is mathematics considered to be a tough,
boring or difficult subject by students all
over the world?
Analysis of results at the Grade 5
scholarship examination, the GCE O/L or any
other public examination shows that the
above is valid for children in Sri Lanka
Does this mean that mathematics is a
subject that is confined to an elitist group
with exceptional brain capacity?
It is paradoxical, that the negation of this
postulate, comes from none other than the
greatest mathematician of all time.
Albert Einstein was sent out of school in
his early days, because his teachers thought
he was hopelessly incompetent in
We, who condemn some of our own students, as
persons whose brains are not equipped to
learn mathematics, are no different to those
teachers of Einstein.
If I may borrow a figure of speech from
Alice In Wonderland, things are only getting
curioser and curioser.
Research findings show that mathematics is a
left brain activity. Ironically the majority
of school teachers too, are left brain
dominant personalities. They use logical,
analytical, essentially vertical teaching
methods to disseminate the rules and the
principles of mathematics.
Then why do so many students do not get
sufficiently motivated to learn it?
I think that though the operations in
mathematics are left brain activities, the
learning of it is more effective if the
right brain is involved.
This sounds like another paradox.
I would like to leave it to Alice (and
others like her) to solve this mystery.
Incidentally, Lewis Carroll is the pen name
of Reverend Charles Dodgson, a mathematics
lecturer at Oxford University, during Queen
Victoria's reign. In addition to the
well-known Alice In Wonderland and Through
The Looking Glass, he wrote many more books,
mostly meant to make learning mathematics
and logic, fun.
In the book titled Symbolic Logic, he says
that 'symbolic logic gives you clearness of
thought - the ability to see your way
through a puzzle - the habit of arranging
your ideas in an orderly and get-at-able
form and, more valuable than all, the power
to detect fallacies, and to tear to pieces
the flimsy logical arguments which you will
so continually encounter in books, in
newspapers, in speeches, and even in sermons
It is certain that Caroll who lived in the
19th Century did not know about the separate
functions of the left and right brains. But
he certainly used the attributes of the
right brain - humour, dreaming, intuition,
rhyme, rhythm, and synthesis - to teach
I think it is time that all teachers of
mathematics, all over the world, should
rethink their strategies of teaching. Beauty
of mathematics is too precious a possession
to be kept away from the multitudes.
- Somabandhu Kodikara,
Assumes duties as principal
Sister M. Sonali (AC) assumed duties as the
principal of St. Anthony's Girls School
kollupitiya on January 20. Assuming office
Sister Sonali said that she would perform
her duties in line with the main objective
of the Carmel Sect of providing quality
education to innocent children. Sister
Sonali joins a long line of AC sisters who
have performed their duties in an exemplary
manner as the school's principal.
Speed bags two top standards awards - haccp
and iso 9001
Speed Water Systems (Pvt) Limited was
awarded the prestigious HACCP (ISO 22000),
ISO 9001 certification by the Sri Lanka
Standards Institution (SLSI) on January 27.
"This is the First time that a bottled water
company in Sri Lanka has been awarded the
HACCP (ISO 22000), ISO 9001 certification,
which, in fact, is a firm assurance that
specific hazards in the respective industry
and products are focused on and controlled,"
said Managing Director, Speed Water Systems,
Nishantha Delgoda. The internationally
accredited HACCP (ISO 22000), ISO 9001
certificates given by SLSI demonstrates the
credibility and acceptability of the
certificate. The simultaneous award of HACCP
(ISO 22000), ISO 9001 quality management
system is also an official acknowledgement
that SPEED is customer-oriented and safety
focused to ensure that purified bottled
drinking water is supplied in keeping with
the needs of its clientele and conforming to
safety standards, it was noted. Photo shows,
Chairman of SLSI with Nalin Delgoda and
Guru from India says Yoga
is the best way...
By Ranee Mohamed
Dr. Abhay S. Keste is the personification of
true Yoga. From the B.K.S. Iyengar
International Yoga Institute in Poone, India
Dr. Abhay S. Keste has come a long way to
Sri Lanka at the invitation of his friend,
colleague and student Nanda Siriwardene of
the famed Hatha Yoga Institute in Nawala
Road, and insists that Yoga is a way of life
that will give us all complete enrichment of
mind and body.
"We are happy to be in Sri Lanka," said the
lean, freshfaced Dr. Abhay.
Perhaps it may be his long journey with Yoga
that has given him a look of total peace and
wellness of body. Dr. Abhay S. Keste does
not need to speak out about the multitude of
benefits that this ancient art of Yoga
offers to a human being - his clear
perception and his looks seem to say it all.
Dr. Abhay S. Keste and his wife Usha Keste
are professional instructors of Yoga
And as he wraps himself in the most
intriguing asanas, this amazing art of Yoga
seems to enrapture us.
But Yoga is not about complicated asanas,
stressed these veterans of Yoga. "Yoga is
for the young and old, able and disabled,
the fat and the thin..anyone can do Yoga,"
insist both Dr. Abhay S. Keste and Hatha
Yoga instructor Nanda Siriwardene.
Stress and strain
"In all metropolitan cities, stress and
strain are penetrating the mind and body.
People are leading a fast life and the mind
seems to be going away from the body and
that creates a gap between the body and
mind. And when the mind goes away from the
body it is akin to a baby going away from
the mother," observed Dr. Keste.
Attributing the mind being separated from
the body as the reason for conditions as
diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, and
psychological problems, Dr. Abhay S. Keste
said that Yoga brings the body and mind as
close to each other as possible.
"The mind is like a mercury, it goes from
one thing to another - to different
thoughts. The practice of Yoga slowly traps
the mind into the body and it is then that
tranquility, satisfaction and thus freedom
are realised," said Dr. Keste.
"With the blessings of the honoured
Professor B.K.S. Iyengar in 1997, I began
professional teaching of Yoga at two centres.
I have practised Yoga with my father who was
a retired high school teacher who practised
this ancient art form to get rid of the
piles he was suffering from. I began a
greater practise of Yoga in 1994,"
explained Dr. Keste.
"I met Nanda Siriwardene several years ago
at the B.K.S Iyengar Yoga Institute. He
studied with me," said Dr. Keste.
Revered ancient art form
After taking blessings from the respected
guru of Yoga Prof. B.K.S. Iyengar, Dr. Abhay
Keste and Nanda Siriwardene went their own
ways to teach this revered ancient art form
- Yoga. Dr. Abhay S. Keste's quest to teach
saw extended years at Professor B.KS.
Iyengar's Institute in India and Nanda
Siriwardene's total devotion to this ancient
art form saw the setting up of the Nanda Sri
"I have been to his centre and have seen the
props and equipment therein. These are
useful aids to Yoga for aged and differently
abled and disabled people who are students
of Yoga. Yoga equipment ensures the ageing
and disabled students get the maximum
benefit of Yoga without any injury,"
explained Dr. Keste.
"Yoga is perhaps the only medium where one
does not have to spend a fortune to acquire
total well being. Modern medicine requires
the intake of different medicinal drugs and
there is also the risk of one not getting
the total benefit of the money spent.
Besides, medicine does not work on or assure
of the psychological well-being," pointed
out Dr. Keste.
Related to the mind
According to Dr. Abhay S. Keste, almost all
conditions are related to the mind. "Take
gastritis as an example. It is common
knowledge that it is a condition of acidity
of the stomach; what we fail to grasp at
once is that it is also due to a
psychological imbalance. No proper food, no
proper sleep, no proper disgestion and above
all stress and tension, are all associated
factors. Yoga can remove the disease from
the root. Be it a structural problem as a
backache, arthritis, piles, hernia and
spondylosis - conditions where modern
medicine may not be as effective.
In conditions caused by disalingnment of the
body, Yoga helps to tone the muscles and
hold the tissues inside. This is also true
of piles, where Yoga will tone the muscles
around the piles to keep it inside, it is
also true of hernia - hold the muscles to
keep the tissue inside. Yoga also helps to
correct disc problems, said Dr.Keste.
Looking young and being healthy, according
to Dr. Abhay S. Keste are by-products or
good side effects of the practice of Yoga.
For Yoga has been found not only to tone the
muscles and enhance the condition of the
skin, but also to balance the hormones, for
the benefits of Yoga not only work from
bones to skin, but also in the reverse of
skin to bones," said Dr. Abhay.
It is in this context that the duo - Dr.
Keste and Nanda Siriwardene took a break to
speak with admiration of the skin of their
90 year old Professor B.K.S. Iyengar,
describing it as 'glowing' and making a
comparison to a baby's skin.
"Yoga practice builds the strength of the
muscles and alignment of the bones and once
the energy is thrown out by these Sookshama
(fine) acts, the benefits spread all over,
including the skin.." is the belief of these
There are two types of classes in Yoga - the
general classes and the medical classes. And
it is the belief of these acclaimed Yoga
instructors that anyone can practice Yoga
with the proper guidance and even those
people who have not even 'bent down to pick
up a pen.'
"The basic poses give immense benefits and
they are felt almost immediately," they
said. "The medical classes require the
students to lie on instruments and the
instructor works on achieving wellness like
a doctor working on an operating table,"
said Dr. Keste.
"The general classes are for everyone and
they are for those who want to 'look young
and feel young and beautiful and handsome,
relieve stress and fight fat and obesity,"
say these teachers of Yoga who insist that
Yoga is the only cure for all our ills,
especially in fighting the conditions caused
by stress and our modern day sedentary, yet
singer, actor and artist going places in
By Risidra Mendis
He is a novelist, vocalist, screenwriter,
actor and artist originally from Sri Lanka
and now residing in California, USA. However
he has today become a professional and
popular healer who has helped many people
overcome a variety of diseases.
Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka has created a
name for himself through his hands on
healing, long distance healing and
What started out as an interest in singing
and writing soon made him a true
professional. Jayatilaka recalling his past
as a singer and artist told The Sunday
Leader that he started singing when he was
about three years old. "I would start
singing by making up my own words and music.
By the age of six I started drawing and by
the age of seven I started writing. I have
been doing hands on healing for about 12
years now and reiki (long distance) healing
for a few years. I came to Gampaha to do
healing a few years ago," Jayatilaka said.
Explaining the reiki method Jayatilaka said
this is a Japanese Buddhist system that uses
symbols and sounds and can be used long
distance to heal people. "A reiki guru came
to my house and was guided by the spirits to
give me reiki 1, 2 and 3. I had my eyes
closed and my guru afterwards said that now
I can go and start healing long distance. I
have healed people in Australia and New
Zealand. I have also written a book about
chakra and healingand a book on self
hypnosis (Swayam mohanaya thulin preethimath
jeevithayak)," Jayatilaka said.
According to Jayatilaka you cannot do
hypnosis over the phone. "Self hypnosis can
be used to give suggestions to feel better,
overcome phobias and bad habits and also to
look into past lives, which I have done with
groups," Jayatilaka explained.
Despite his special healing powers
Jayatilaka has not forgotten his singing and
Jayatilaka went on to say that he teaches
all art media and is currently teaching
theatre and art for kids and adults. "Water
colour is very popular with adults. I can
paint and draw anything and everything and
have my own techniques. Two of my books are
out currently. Lets Draw (Chitra Andimu) has
been published in Sinhala, English and
Having lived in the USA for the past 35
years Jayatilaka for the first time
participated in a musical show in
celebration of his 60th birthday (November
20), where in front of an audience of 250
people Jayatilaka's original songs were sung
by 30 performers on stage at the Duarte
Performing Arts Center on November 22.
Jayatilaka was the only entertainer selected
to sing at the Los Angeles Coliseum for an
audience of 40,000 at the celebration of the
200th birthday of the city in 1981 where
10,000 people became citizens of USA.
He also created the programmes representing
Sri Lanka at the World Sacred Music Festival
in Los Angeles under the auspices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Jayatilaka writes lyrics and composes
melodies for songs in Sinhala and English
and has recorded over 200 songs. His
original songs can be heard via the internet
on miyurugee.com and Sinhala Jukebox - A
jukebox of songs from Sri Lanka
He has received many awards and prizes for
his plays and has written over 30 half-hour
Sinhala radio plays for the Sri Lanka
Broadcasting Corporation that included
Jayatilaka has written many plays and
directed television programmes and has
appeared on several talk shows, musical
programmes and television dramas in Sri
Lanka. He has also written, directed, and
staged original stage plays in Sinhala and
English in California, acted in many
Sinhala and English plays staged in Los
Angeles, California and taken part in
various musical events. Jayatilaka has had
many one man musical shows in Sri Lanka,
Australia, and California.
Jayatilaka was educated at
Colombo, Woodbury University, Los Angeles,
Columbia College, North La Brea, Hollywood,
among others. He comes from a family of four
sisters and two brothers. "My older brother,
Prof (Dr) Chandra Lakshman Jayatilaka was
the VC of Peradeniya University and is
currently chairman of the NIBM. My sister
Rani had a montessori school in Springfield,
Massachusetts for 40 years, and is now
retired and residing in
My sister Dr. Sardha Wijerathne and her
husband Dr. M. Wijerathne are both retired
"My other sisters Lakshmi Haturusinghe and
Lilani Kaluarachchi are retired teachers.
"Lakshmi still works with handicapped kids
at the Suhada Lama Niwasaya. Lilani does
writing for magazines and newspapers. Then
comes me. My younger brother Prof. Dr
Bandula Jayatilaka worked for the NASA Space
Center with the Sky Lab programme and is
currently doing computer research at the
in New York and is a professor there,"
Writer of many books
A book written on the story of Jayatilaka is
titled Dona Luisa Saadaneege Kathawen
Kotasaki (Second Print). "This was my
mother's name. This book covers the history
as well as about our families. This was
nominated as one of the five final books
that year for the D.R. Wijewardena Award,"
Jayatilaka has also written a sequel to
Ramayanaya - some 2000 years since Valmiki
wrote Ramayanaya, the story of the heroic
prince of India. Jayatilaka's Sri
Ravannapuwatha - Hela Yak Parapure Kathawa
is about Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.
The story is not only about the birth and
upbringing of a royal prince, who became a
powerful king, but tells us about a
civilisation that flourished, and its people
who lived in the same land which we live in
today, a few thousand years before.
Some places and events in this story
resemble actual occurrences in the island's
history, while some names such as Wariyapola,
Kadiragama, Kelani which are still in use,
and the descriptions of Alakamandawa (Sigiriya),
Pulastipura (Polonnaruwa) and Gokarna port (Trincomalee)
and incidents related to these places, give
the impression that they were once part and
parcel of a civilisation that existed prior
to the recorded history of the island.
When Jayatilaka came to Sri Lanka last year
he introduced two novels. Both novels have
horror themes Ulamage Rathriya (which is to
be released in a new print) has now been
made into a mini tele series.
His Sinhala translation of Jesus Lived In
India (by Holger Kertsen) has gone into the
second print within a span of few months.
Other translations that will be out soon are
Wizard Of Oz and Dr. Zhivago. According to
Jayatilaka he is currently writing
Sakunthala as an English musical with modern
dances and his original music and lyrics.
Latest cancer treatment
technique available in Sri Lanka
Lasantha with a younger Aadesh
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT),
a relatively new technique in Sri Lanka for
the treatment of cancer, is now available as
a routine feature at the Ceylinco Radiation
Treatment Unit, the country's
state-of-the-art private radiation treatment
This would help hundreds of cancer patients
to save substantial amounts of money that
they would normally spend on traveling
overseas for this treatment, the Centre said
IMRT is one of the safest and most advanced
radiation therapy techniques for the
treatment of many forms of cancer. It treats
the tumor with precision, thereby reducing
harm to the non-cancerous cells. This
treatment enables the radiation oncologist
to deliver tightly conforming high doses of
radiation directly to the tumor irrespective
of its shape.
The Ceylinco Radiation Treatment Unit offers
IMRT at an affordable rate significantly
lower than rates charged at medical centres
overseas, Chairman, Ceylinco Healthcare
Services Ltd., R. Renganathan said.
"Offering this treatment as a standard
feature demonstrates that our radiation
treatment unit has been brought on par with
those in developed countries," he said,
pointing out that the Ceylinco Radiation
Treatment Unit had performed Sri Lanka's
first ever IMRT in early 2008.
Renganathan added that besides the foreign
exchange saving, patients can undergo
treatment in the company of loved ones which
could have a very positive effect on their
ability to cope with the disease and the
IMRT is performed by a state-of-the-art
Linear Accelerator or Linac which is the
international gold standard in the delivery
of accurate 3D conformable and
intensity-modulated radiation therapy for
the treatment of many forms of cancer. The
Ceylinco Radiation Treatment Unit was the
first medical facility in
Sri Lanka to
import a Linear Accelerator.
The Ceylinco Radiation Treatment Unit at
Park Street, Colombo 2 completed one year of
operations in September 2008. In its first
year, the unit dispensed 439 radiation
treatments, 313 of which were from the
sophisticated Linear Accelerator.
The six-storey, 19,000 square-foot Ceylinco
Radiation Treatment Unit comprises of a
solid concrete bunker built to
specifications provided by the Atomic Energy
Authority, the Linear Accelerator unit and
two reception areas on the Ground Floor.
The upper floors house the Brachytherapy
Unit, Mould Room, CT Scanner and CT
Simulator rooms, Computerised Treatment
Planning Unit, Iodine Treatment Unit,
doctors' rooms, two wards and individual
patient rooms and suites. The unit also
offers facilities for chemotherapy
treatments in a comfortable, non-hospital
That spooky feeling
Do you suddenly feel a shudder go through
your body and a sense of unease, or fear and
apprehension? When we were much younger, we
used to get a delicious thrill relating
ghost stories to each other. It had to be
done at the dead of night, of course!
The place would be candlelit or torchlight
to illuminate the gloom. This was done at
our pyjama parties. There would be loud
shrieks and resident parents would worriedly
come to check up on us.
Some prankster would either drop something
with a loud bang in the midst of a deathly
pause in a story, or drape a sheet and swirl
into the room howling eerily. That made all
of us yell at the top of our lungs, and
finally exasperated grown-ups would tell us
to go to sleep, or else!
Recently, I was out to dinner with two of my
childhood friends. We all lived in the same
apartment complex when we were young. So,
after dinner, true to form, we reminisced
how we had this ritual of scaring each other
to death! We went for horror movies, half of
which we didn't actually watch.
Moved very heavy furniture
Anyway, my friend said every night she
thought the people who lived upstairs moved
very heavy furniture around in the dead of
night. She would hear it being dragged
around. Then there was the sound of marbles
bouncing on the floor! So she asked her
friend upstairs to please stop this nonsense
Her friend, thoroughly surprised said, "Oh,
I thought it came from the upper floor of
our flat. I hear it too!" So, she decided to
dig deeper into this phenomenon. Her pal on
the topmost floor promptly replied
indignantly, "You think we have nothing
better to do? We hear these exact noises
too, you better complain to (R), who lives
immediately over your flat."
That shook her up. So, she says, to date,
she never stays at her mum's place in the
night. She darkly warns her nieces and
nephews who continue to do so to watch out
for Noises! I reminded her that they lived
close to the sea and because of the constant
blowing of the wind, lots of noises and
rattles get magnified.
Then she said, "But how do you explain the
singing?" Her pals had asked her in the
course of her investigation if she'd never
heard the lady with a high pitched voice
singing late at night. She said she happily
replied she'd not, but then one night, she
heard the singing too!
I laughed and reminded her that just over
the wall was this Italian lady who had huge
parties. I said maybe she or a friend used
to sing at these parties. She thoughtfully
said, "Yes, maybe, that could be an
Then she said that she was never comfortable
walking down to her apartment late at night
after a date with her boyfriend. Although he
was with her, she always felt someone was
following behind her. At that I laughed and
told her she probably had a vivid
imagination or was absolutely neurotic!
My other friend chimed in that some people
say that they see black figures walking
around in some of the apartments late at
night. I told her those must be shadows.
Other noises like toilets flushing etc. are
heard too! Imagination running riot?
As for me, I keep thinking of
the friendly ghost, who is absolutely cute.
My sister's dog is also called Casper and is
very cute too. Somehow this is firmly
imprinted in my mind. I don't think they
mean any harm, even if they are out there.
So what if they want to make a bit of noise?
I told her I can hear the dogs bark outside
our gate late at night almost every day. A
hole has been cut in the undergrowth
outside, and according to my investigations,
the neighbourhood homies creep through and
are up to some sort of illicit activity. So,
these are my ghosts. Anyway, my friend told
my other pal, "So, goodnight and listen
today for the furniture and the marbles!"
She cheerfully told her not to talk
nonsense, but when I drew up to her door,
she asked a bit nervously, "Eeeer, can you
wait awhile until I'm indoors?" "Aha! You're
scared!" I exclaimed. Then I laughingly said
I'd walk her to her door, and she told me, "Noooo!
Not necessary. Just a precaution." I wonder
if she slept well that night.
- Honky Tonk Woman
Wanted: From 1st Feb. 2009
My resume, or C.V. as some like to term it,
used to be four to five pages long. Most
employers only give the first page a casual
once over before moving onto the next
application or so I am told. So now, my
resume is two pages long and instead of
paragraphs and indents, I have categories
and points. I also now have dozens of
different versions of cover letters all
named something like "marisacoverletter.docx"
or "coverlettermarisa.docx" so I can
differentiate between the two without
letting the prospective employers that I
email them to know that I am applying for
several different jobs at once.
That is what I am doing right now. Applying
for work. I have graduated and therefore
that seems the next logical step - find a
career. I am not concerned about a career -
I am more concerned about whether I will
have money to pay the rent and the bills.
Any job will do.
Ways to find a job
There are lots of ways to find a job. One
way is to register for the DOLE - this means
that the government gives you an allowance
based on your needs for rent and so on as
long as you search and apply for work. To
ensure that you keep your side of the
bargain, they register you with employment
agencies and if you are lucky, you will get
an agency that will attempt to find you work
that you are interested and keen to do.
Until you report back every week or
fortnight to the department on how many jobs
you applied for and when, you do not get any
Another method of finding work is to use a
job board. Job boards are online websites
that post job ads. In some cases, if you
sign up and fill in an online resume with
your details of experience and so on,
employers can search for you as well as you
search for positions. A well known
international one is MonsterJobs. One that
and New Zealand is called Seek.com.au.
Another two are MyCareer and CareerOne.
These websites often let you apply online
directly when you see an ad for a position
you like - you just need to attach your
resume and cover letter and send it. You can
also set up automatic searches so that
whenever new positions are posted, they get
emailed to your inbox if they meet your
specifications. This means that Seek
automatically emails a detailed list of all
the new jobs available in the publishing
field anywhere in Australia as soon as they
Job boards such as Seek are usually what
most people tend to turn to first. A lot of
graduate handbooks and career advice will
tell you though that most of the positions
available are not often advertised publicly.
People tend to either recommend people they
know to fill a position or they promote
someone within the organisation. So if you
are not career minded, you might have to be
get promoted from proof reader to editorial
assistant within the same organisation or
You could still try the newspaper.
Occasionally the newspapers will come out
with supplements that detail positions
within a certain field. If it is National
Science Week for instance, then suddenly
there might be a pullout with all the
science related work available. Or perhaps
it is the end of the financial year, so
perhaps it is a major time for hiring within
business fields and so on.
Most national papers have a designated day
such as Wednesday or Thursday during the
week and Saturday on which the jobs are
listed in the newspaper. Before Seek became
popular, you could never buy a newspaper on
Wednesday or Saturday morning unless you
woke up at five.
I remember walking down the streets of
Northbridge just after midnight on Friday
night and watching the guy on the corner run
out of all the Saturday morning papers that
had been dropped off only a few minutes
before. People used to grab them to look for
work. Maybe with the recession we will see a
return to that - maybe the servers on Seek
will be overloaded and crash instead.
I suppose it helps when you have a degree
that narrows your field a bit. My flatmate's
degree in Molecular Biology leads to
research scientist and analyst positions
only but those sort of positions can be in
any kind of field from conservation to
mining to medicine. However, my flatmate
only needs to type in "researcher" or
"analyst" and bingo!
Meanwhile, I scratch my head and go "What
does one do with a B.A. (Hons) in Geography
and English Literature" - I am not quite
sure what that means in terms of a job
description. I am not just a "scientist" and
I am not just an "liberal arts graduate" - I
am kind of a mix of both and I can't put
both into a search engine and expect it to
come up trumps.
That's the point of an Arts degree - you can
go into any field. This then however makes
it hard for you to decide: a) what can I do
and b) what, out of what I can do with this,
do I actually want to do? I could go into
management in any field. I could do
secretarial work, in any field. I could go
into research, journalism. I could go into
public relations, audio visual management,
communications, conservation, history,
government work. I could do another year of
study and become a teacher. However, none of
this makes it any easier to decide and so
far career guidance has provided me with
I guess I have kind of decided - I decided
on publishing. For the last two years I have
subscribed - at a heinous student rate - to
a little publication called of all things
The Weekly Book Newsletter. This is what is
known as a trade journal. A trade journal is
something akin to required reading for
people in that trade. So if you were a
banker on Wall Street you would read the
Financial Times or be a bit sneakier and get
Google to email you stock market updates.
Here's a tip from me - the best stock to
invest in if you can is the stock of things
people will always need. YKK manufactures
zips and fashion is such a huge market,
there is always a need for zips and buttons.
3M invented cellotape, removable tape,
removable hooks and the Post-It Note -
everyone everywhere uses these not just as
office supplies but as branding. Quite often
you will get Post-It Notes with messages on
the top half handed out to you at concerts
and festivals and conferences advertising
some company or the other. These two are the
cockroaches of the financial world - their
species will survive fiscal holocausts like
Enough of that. The Weekly Book Newsletter
not only lists all the news of what's
happening in the Australian publishing
industry but it also lists the jobs. Which
is why, if you are like me, you consider the
newsletter a worthy investment. Jobs
advertised in here don't get advertised on
Seek or any job board. The idea is that
people within the book industry would know
of the newsletter and therefore apply for
the jobs therefore the advertisers can be
assured of the people having had some
experience within the book industry or at
least being keen enough to find out about
the newsletter in the first place.
I only found out about it after emailing
random people in the industry with my resume
two years ago while looking for an
internship. So, defining at least one field
or industry you would like to work in and
then reading the trade journal is worth it.
Another method is to target the companies
themselves. Hunting down the website of a
company you want to work for - such as in my
case - Penguin or Allen and Unwin for
example - is worth it. Sometimes you can
apply for jobs directly via their website.
Sometimes they will direct you to another
website such as Seek and most of them
usually have a page listing what sort of
vacancies they have at the moment.
All websites will have contact information.
This helps - who would you address your
cover letter to otherwise? It helped to know
that Allen & Unwin don't seem to have a
human resources manager listed on their
website but they do have a CEO, Robert
Gorman. At least, I knew who I was talking
to when I wrote my application. I also knew
where their office was and since they are a
really nice company, they even listed their
environmental policy online. That's the
first publishing company I have seen do
that. As a Geography and English Literature
major, is it any wonder that I want to work
The same applies to government jobs. Go to
the website for any government department at
a local, state or federal (national) level
and you can find a) a list of positions
available b) a link to the government jobs
board website c) instructions on how to
apply d) cadetships, internships and
graduate training programmes and e)
volunteer work. The cadetships, volunteer
work, graduate training and internships all
generally lead to fulltime work within the
department. You can tailor your search so
that you can apply only to the Department of
Arts or the Department of Fisheries or
perhaps even to just your local museum or
city council office.
I have managed over the course of the
Christmas break to apply for around about 87
jobs. I think I lost count though. I have
not heard back from any of them though the
deadline for applying for some of them is in
early February so it might take sometime for
any replies to come in. Because that is the
nature of employment. It takes time. That's
why you don't get employed straight out of
school, that's why you sometimes have to
move interstate or overseas, that's why the
government has the DOLE set in place to
ensure you don't become homeless for
defaulting on your rent while you're looking
So do I have a plan? I do. It involves
saving money, buying stamps and mailing a
lot of writing and job applications off,
getting a part-time job and doing a lot of
freelance editing and writing work if I can
get it. What I like about my plan is that it
is flexible - I have only one goal to meet -
that of paying my bills. It also makes a lot
of logical sense - not just my logic but
other people's logic as well so hopefully it
will save me from a lot of well intended
Hopefully, it will also give me some time to
whittle my resume down to one page that can
knock someone's socks off.
- Marisa Wikramanayake