The politics surrounding
By Risidra Mendis
Born Free, Liv-ing Free and Forever Free by
Joy Adamson have been books enjoyed by
children, adults and environmentalists over
the years. But even though these books were
based on Elsa, a lioness and her cubs, what
Adamson had implied about animals living
free is relevant to every other wild animal
wherever they may be.
Today sadly due to the selfish attitude of
humans many a wild animal has had to pay the
The latest issue to anger animal rights
activists and environmentalists, is the
decision taken by the Director, Department
of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC), W.A.D.A.
Wijesooriya to send three baby elephants
from the elephant transit home, Ath Athu
Sevana in Uda Walawe, to the Pinnawela
Elephant Orphanage on January 11.
The main aim of the elephant transit home
established on October 6, 1995 at the
Udawalawe National Park
under the 29th Amendment to the Fauna and
Flora Protection Ordinance Part II by the
DWLC was to look after abandoned baby
elephants until they are released into the
Uda Walawe transit home
The transit home was the brainchild of
veterinary surgeon Dr. Nandana Atapattu. At
present there are 32 elephants at the
elephant transit home in Uda Walawe.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader Dr. Atapattu
said the main objective of the transit home
was to release the orphaned baby elephants
back into the wild. Environmentalists said
these baby elephants that were born in the
wild and destined to live a free life
roaming with their herds in the forests had
been denied that freedom, due to a decision
taken by Director, Wild Life Conservation
to send them to the Pinnawela Elephant
The three baby elephants were forcibly
taken to the Pinnawela orphanage despite the
many protests of transit home officials,
environmentalists and the public.
"The elephant orphanage unlike the transit
home does not have a policy to release baby
elephants back into the wild, and the end
result would be, these babies will
eventually be presented to temples by
ministers and live the rest of their lives
"Living in captivity is not beneficial to
elephants, especially due to the cruelty
inflicted on them by some owners,"
At the transit home the baby elephants get
the warmth and love that they would have
received had they been with their mothers
and the herd. The warmth and love that
these babies miss is lavished on them to the
fullest by the conservators and veterinary
surgeons till the time is ripe for them to
be sent back to their natural habitat.
As of June 2008, over 60 orphaned elephants
have been returned to the wild by the
elephant transit home at Uda Walawe. The
ongoing tracking of these animals has
revealed that one of the elephants released
in 1998 has given birth to a calf in the
wilds - the ultimate goal of endangered
According to environmentalists, Wijesooriya
had said the decision to shift the three
milk drinking baby elephants from the
transit home to the Pinnawela orphanage had
been made to exhibit them for the viewing
pleasure of locals as well as foreign
visitors who love to see baby elephants
However according to other officials,
Wijesooriya is alleged to have said the
babies were taken away as the transit home
was over crowded.
Environmentalists are questioning the
statement by the Wildlife Director that the
Pinnawela orphanage was over crowded, which
had been highlighted in recent times.
Environmentalists have also criticised the
statement made by Wijesooriya that releasing
more elephants into the wild would mean less
space for them and more forays into
villages, resulting in human-elephant
conflicts. They went on to say that
presently, the babies at Pinnawela are
under-fed by their mothers in captivity.
"At the transit home the babies are not
tethered with chains attached to their legs
at night, but are tethered with rope around
Sick and wounded
The elephant transit home is the only home
belonging to the DWLC where baby jumbos
found abandoned, stranded or orphaned in the
jungles from all parts of the island are
taken. Some babies are found sick and
wounded. They are kept and treated at the
Elephant Transit Home and looked after till
they are fit enough to be released back
into the wild.
The DWLC has introduced a foster parent
scheme for baby jumbos, where the support
and participation of the community would be
enlisted. The DWLC usually spends around
Rs. 10,000 per month to feed one baby
"Before being released to the wild, baby
jumbos are fitted with radio collars to help
wildlife officials to monitor their
movements, behaviour and progress. Elephant
dung is diluted and rubbed on their bodies
to help them achieve the 'jungle smell' and
erase any human smells that they might have
developed during their stay at the elephant
"The whole purpose of the elephant transit
home is lost if government officials take
decisions to transfer baby elephants from
the transit home to the elephant orphanage,"
the environmentalists said.
The large scale irrigation and agricultural
projects have fragmented the former habitat
of elephants resulting in elephant mortality
and a decrease in the elephant population.
Irrigation programmes for agriculture which
allows human settlements in traditionally
dry areas of the country, create problems
for the Sri Lankan elephant population in
The encroachment of humans into this
elephant habitat has resulted in increased
human-elephant conflict. Each year one
hundred or more elephants are killed as a
result of this conflict. Calves are orphaned
when females are killed and are found
starving and alone. Elephants, especially
young animals, also fall into irrigation
ditches and become trapped, resulting in
separation from their herd.
The presence of wild elephant herds within
Udawalawe has meant that many of the
orphaned calves that are released by the
transit home are adopted into a wild herd
with experienced adult animals to aid their
Director Wild Life Conservation, Wijesooriya
was not available for comment
A Valentine Special
Loving thy neighbour
By Ranee Mohamed
As Valentine roses bloom and cards of
different shades of red adorn both shelves
and lives of the young, the Sri Lanka Police
and the Women and Children's Bureau remain
unmoved and unimpressed by such expressions
"We are keeping a hawk's eye for sex abuse,
as most of the time all these cases stem
with 'love,'" said a police source speaking
to The Sunday Leader.
SSP Ranjith Gunasekera speaking on the issue
said that what girls under 16 years of age
do not understand is that when they engage
in sexual adventures with their boyfriends,
it is the boyfriend who runs the risk of a
20 year sentence due to the offence of
having sex with a minor.
Perhaps the most shocking case of Valentine
turned awry comes in the form of a complaint
into which both the Women and Children's
Bureau and the Narahenpita Police are
inquiring. Yet these powerful police
authorities remain helpless in the face of
the fact that the 'beautiful' girl involved
happens to be a 17 year old from a leading
girls' school in Colombo 4. "Studying bio
science, this exceptionally beautiful girl
is but a few steps away from becoming a
doctor," said a police source.
Death of the mother
Residing in Narahenpita, this only child had
been the darling of her parents. Thus it was
only natural that her mother who had been
ailing with cancer had written both the
mansion type house and the adjoining
property in her daughter's name. Of course
her father could live there for as long as
And thus the father and daughter lived,
sharing the sadness of having lost the light
of their lives - the only woman in their
lives who kept the happiness in the home
Immersed in his own sadness, the father may
have not have found the will to give his
daughter the desired sense of comfort. Yet
family members say that time and again he
reached out to comfort her - looking after
her educational needs and comfort at home.
Yet what he had not realised is the deep
trauma the girl had suffered after the loss
of her mother. It had been a searing wound
But what the father least expected of her
was to go and fall in love. And that too
with a neighbour who was about 42 years old
and a father of two young children aged four
Desperate to save his daughter from the love
of a 'happily' married man, the father had
approached every authority. When the
daughter had approached the Women and
Children's Bureau it was to lodge a
complaint against her father and the
Narahenpita Police for the way they were
harassing her in the face of her true love.
"We remain helpless in this instance for as
she is 17 years old we can only advice her,"
said a police source.
"It breaks my heart to see my daughter
behave this way. When I wake up in the
morning there are photographs all over the
house which depict her love for our
neighbour. The photographs show them in
various stages of intimacy," the father has
reportedly told the police. A retired
government servant, he is unable to stop his
daughter 'in love.'
"The girl has told us that her married
'boyfriend' has promised that he will
divorce his wife and get married to her but
there appears to be no such preparations on
the part of the couple who remain happily
together," observed police.
'Love' and land
Meanwhile the vast land owned by this girl
in the heart of Colombo may be a greater
strengthening factor of this 'love,'
observed outside sources.
"Our message to parents not only at the time
of Valentine but at all times is to keep
their eyes and ears open and to ensure that
children get enough love at home so that
they don't have to go and seek it outside,
and that they have enough confidence in the
family to discuss their issues at home,"
said a police source.
Meanwhile police at Narahenpita and the
Women and Children's Bureau remain helpless
as complaints have been lodged by this young
girl both against her father and the police
for 'intruding into her privacy.'
The talks delivered and the articles
written for a recent Universal
Children's Day event told us a few
interesting facts about our children. A
state newspaper revealed that (a) of our
total population 24 per cent are
children. (b) 40,000 of our children do
not go to school, (c) there are over
2000 child prostitutes in the country
and most of them are boys, (d) there are
4500 street children, (e) 10 per cent of
our children are under-nourished.
It is reported that the rate of child
sexual abuse in Sri Lanka has seen a
steep rise for some time now. In 2001
there had been 108 incidents which
increased up to 194 in 2002 and the
figure went up to over 200 in 2003. And
how much now, who is pausing to find
We must remember that these are only
the cases of sexual abuse reported. Not
all the cases of sexual abuse are
reported either due to the fear by the
children or the disbelief and non
acceptance by elders.
In Sri Lanka, child abuse research began
exposing sexual abuse of children as a
problem of sizable proportions in the
early 1990s. A study done in 1991
estimated that there were 36,000 boy
prostitutes in the country. By 2003 it
was estimated that 10,000 to 12,000
children from rural areas were
trafficked and prostituted by organised
crime groups to paedophiles staying at
various seedy hotels.
Although public awareness has been
raised in Sri Lanka by media
advertisements and community programs
during the past two decades, research
has revealed that the pervasive secrecy
of child sexual victimisation continues
at an alarming rate. The questions
remain unanswered regarding the current
extent of non-disclosure and the
effectiveness of preventive programs in
reducing sexual victimisation.
The Women and Children's Bureau urges
citizens to report cases of abuse to
their hotline 2444444.
Valentine is a time
to celebrate love
People started writing Valentine love
letters in the 1400s. Soon some lovers began
to draw pictures on their letters. They made
their Valentine cards very beautiful by
adding "lace" to make them more beautiful.
Rome young men drew women's names out of a box on Valentine's
Day. They became "Sweet Hearts" for a day.
People sending "Valentine's" to show their
love only on this particular day annually,
is utterly useless. Very often people follow
others blindly without knowing the
'Love' at the present time has become a big
business. Legally married couples change
their partners and have their own way in
clubs and karaoke lounges, leaving the
children at home. The husband enjoys with
another man's wife and the wife enjoys with
another woman's husband. This is very common
in Sri Lanka today.
As a teacher I could cite many examples of
my own students (who were very good in their
studies) who have become very backward in
their studies because of their parents'
Being a 'loving couple' on Valentine's Day
is utterly useless, if they are at
loggerheads during the remaining 364 days.
Let me cite a real example. After a certain
wedding the video was handed over to the
video centre. This particular video centre,
which only takes an advance, wanted the
total amount of money to be paid on the day
of handing over the video.
When the customer questioned the video
centre owner, he had said that they have had
several instances where the couple who
handed over the video never came to collect
the video, because they had already divorced
or separated, and the video centre incurred
a great loss.
At the present time 'love' and 'marriage'
are just a past time. Earlier the husband
and wife loved each other whole-heartedly.
The husband respected the wife and the wife
respected the husband. The "nuptial knot"
was very strong and no one could untie it.
I always respectfully remember the words of
the promises that are made at a Christian
wedding before the couple is declared
husband and wife: "For better for worse, for
richer for poorer, in sickness and in
health, till death do us part."
How gentle and touching are these words, and
earlier - the majority of the married
couples adhered to these promises and
divorces were very rare.
Let me wind up by quoting God's words; 'What
God hath joined together let no man put
- Manel Atapattu
Is there a 'chemical
Every day, thousands of people look for
information about the term "chemical
romance" on internet search engines. And
while I suspect that most of them are trying
to find out about the rock band 'My Chemical
Romance' rather than how chemicals in our
bodies encourage romantic relationships, we
ought to learn and enjoy knowing a little
bit about the role pheromones play in love.
Chemical Romance: it isn't just for insects!
When most of us hear the word "pheromones,"
I'm sure we think of the chemicals that
ellicit instinctual responses between
animals and insects. A pheromone is a
chemical that is produced by one animal that
can affect the behaviour of another animal
of the same species. In insects especially,
pheromones can trigger responses such as
sexual desire, mating, aggression and food
gathering. Not exactly romantic, but the
power of chemicals when it comes to the
animal kingdom is nothing to laugh at.
But what role do chemicals play in romance
among human beings? Is there really such a
thing as 'chemical romance,' or love
inspired by pheromones passed between two
people? Well, many mammals detect pheromones
through an organ in the olfactory system, or
sense of smell. And there have been several
studies that do indicate that natural
chemicals may play a part in romance between
humans, as well.
These studies suggest that pheromones we
detect in odors may make us more apt to
chemical romance and love by helping us
select boyfriends or girlfriends who are not
related to us too closely. In addition, a
chemical in male sweat has been shown to
encourage a higher production of hormones in
women, whichm may suggest that romance is
made more likely in the presence of certain
So, is chemical romance real or not?
And some scientists point to the fact that
receptors specializing in detecting chemical
pheromones do exist in humans, which
suggests that chemical romance is more than
just theory. We've all seen products on the
shelves at stores that claim to encourage
chemical romance, too. There are plenty of
perfumes and other things that call
themselves aphrodisiacs that can attract the
opposite sex and help you find chemical
Regardless of whether you think chemical
romance really exists or not, though, I
don't really think it matters when it comes
to romantic relationships. Even if there
really are chemicals that can make a person
more prone to being romantic, the basic
ingredients of a successful relationship
remain the same.
Rather than focusing on products that
promise to use chemicals to help your love
life, the truly romantic person should
instead focus on qualities that have always
inspired romance between a man and a woman,
and those are patience, understanding, and
small, subtle acts of love.
It's actually the truth, there have been
plenty of people, believe it or not, who
actually thought they could get through
their entire long lives without falling in
love. But the inescapable truth is that
human beings can't help falling in love in
some way during the course of their lives,
because it's really ingrained in our
physiological makeup. Even the science of
love shows us that we're programmed to need
love and project love, and if you can't help
falling in love you're in good company:
neither can the rest of mankind!
So, what is it in our physiology that makes
us need love, want love and unable to avoid
falling in love? Some scientists and
psychologists claim that because humans are
social animals, and need to be surrounded in
communities of people to survive, that we
have developed a natural need to fall in
love in order to be forced to stay around
other people. Evolution and natural
selection may have a lot to do with the fact
that you can't help falling in love.
Then again, there are others who say that
evolution and science have nothing to do
with falling in love, and that humans are
subject to a mysterious, unexplainable force
that makes us desire the perfect person for
us. In this model, we can't help falling in
love because things are destined to happen a
certain way, and there is no escaping the
fact that you will meet the perfect person
for you someday.
Regardless of which theory you subscribe to,
you can't deny that it's really useless to
try to escape falling in love. The harder
you try to get away from it, the more your
natural physiology rears its head. Face it:
you just can't help falling in love, my
A better life for
Akindu and Anuga
Akindu and Anuga with their parents
This plea comes from the parents of Akindu
and Anuga, twins aged five years and two
months. It was an article in The Sunday
Leader in July 2006 that changed the lives
of these twins, one of whom was born deaf
and the other ailing.
"I am a patient. I suffer from a stomach
disorder. I have been warned that it may be
malignant. Yet what pains me is not my own
illness but my inability to upkeep the
medical needs of my twin sons," pleads Ashok
Young Akindu B. Gamage and Anuga B. Gamage
have undergone much after having been the
survivors of three children born to
Vyjanthimala. Having been operated and
fitted with a cochlear implant, the couple
now find it difficult to upkeep and maintain
Mapping and speech
"We are required to take our children for
mapping and speech therapy. The greater the
number of therapy sessions per month the
faster the progress but it's been three
months since we have taken them," cries
Gamage who works as a clerk. "I have
obtained a loan to build a house, pawned all
my wife's jewellery," he said.
The problems of Ashok and Vyjanthimala are
not new. They are the everyday problems
that young Sri Lankan couples have to
face, but the fact that their young children
- ailing as they are - are made to suffer
this way, deprived of medical needs is a sad
situation that ought to catch the eye.
"I can cook, I can make video films, we can
model for advertisements, we can sell our
house, I can take photographs," offers Ashok
Gamage in desperation. Such is the anxiety
of desperate parents wanting to help their
children through life.
Long hours of starvation
Ashoka and Vyjanthimala live at 203/7,
Kandaboda Road, Malagala, Padukka, and Ashok
is an employee of the Medical Supplies
Gamage's own deteriorating health
condition, according to medical reports, has
been brought about by long hours of
starvation. "I had to forgo my afternoon
meal because I could not afford to spend
money on lunch for myself," said Gamage.
Please help my children to hear better and
talk better, pleads Gamage who is unable to
give them the therapy they need due to a
multitude of constraints.
Balangoda man the
father of us all?
Genetic studies indicate the ancestors of
the Sinhalese and Tamils were not recent
but were on this island for 14000 years
By R. Wijewardene
The volume of information on the internet is
genu-inely astounding. Of course not all, or
even a small fraction of it, is true but a
great deal of it is certainly interesting.
The entry in Wikipedia under 'Sinhala
people' - makes particularly interesting
reading. It says, in reasonably technical
jargon, that DNA studies conducted by
Stanford University in 2003 indicate that
the Sinhala people are not descended from
north Indian settlers but rather that they
can trace their origins to the indigenous
people who populated this island circa 12000
What this fairly obscure DNA study does
therefore is cast doubt on the creation myth
central to the identity of the nation's
principle ethnic group; the legend that the
Sinhalese people are the descendents of a
group of marauding North Indians who arrived
on the island on precisely the date of the
While the Vijaya story is understood in
terms of a myth nevertheless the assumption
that the ancestors of the Sinhalese arrived
on this island relatively recently - 543 BC
and that the Sinhalese were nevertheless the
'first' of the major ethnic groups to arrive
on the island underlies claims of
'ownership' the are central to the broader
However what these genetic studies indicate
is that where DNA is concerned the people of
never really arrived from anywhere. This
applies to both Tamils as well as Sinhalese
as the study found that in genetic terms the
difference between the communities was
either marginal or non existent.
The majority of DNA - in Tamils and
Sinhalese alike appears tobe indigenous
which is to say that the bulk of the
island's people are descended from natives
of this island rather than settlers. What
this means is that the Sinhalese do not
trace their ancestry to Orissa or North West
India as often claimed but instead to
Balangoda man - the ancient Paleolithic
people who populated this island thousands
of years ago - the yakshas and nagas of
While the study is not definitive - the
suggestion that the people of this island
while identified as Sinhala, Indo Aryans and
Tamil Dravidians for linguistic reasons,
where ancestry is concerned descended from
predominately indigenous stock, is not a new
Local historians such as K.M. de Silva, as
well as British and European archaeologists
and anthropologists working half a century
ago began to suggest that evidence of
migration from India in and after 500BC was
limited and began to find evidence to
support the theory that the bulk of the
population was of essentially indigenous
The Indo-Aryan language - 'Sinhala' which is
often cited as evidence for the north Indian
origins of the Sinhalese, is according the
genetic study a result of 'cultural
diffusion' not settlement.
The Indo Aryan languages Sanskrit and Pali
were introduced by monks and possibly a
small number of invaders and adopted by the
indigenous people as they had no written
language of their own.
Rather than being settled by people from
India the reality is that a small number of
North Indians brought the people a written
language and sacred texts the influence of
which caused the indigenous population to
modulate their speech - and begin speaking
an Indo Aryan language.
The old legend that Vijaya displaced the
island's indigenous people chasing them into
the jungles to become veddahs therefore is
rather suspect. It seems rather that the
descendents of the island's indigenous pre
Vijayan people include most of us on the
island today. And the veddahs possibly
represent a small group of indigenous
people who did not become as thoroughly
assimilated into the civilisations brought
to the island from India.
Anthropologists have long suggested that
veddahs are not a distinct aboriginal race
but rather represent an earlier stratum of
Sinhala culture, as their language and
rituals are closely related to those of the
Sinhalese. The DNA of the islands original
yaksha inhabitants lives on - not just in
the veddahs but in all of us.
Again what is crucial is that the entire
population was found to be of largely
indigenous descent and the study included
DNA samples from 90 Sri Lankan Tamils.
Which means that Tamil the community is
either extensively intermixed with the
indigenous community or that many indigenous
people simply adopted a Tamil identity at
times when the island was ruled by Tamil
The Tamil and Sinhala identities are both
therefore the result of cultural diffusions
rather than distinct racial origins.
Ultimately this genetic evidence casts
doubts on established ideas regarding the
origins of the nation's major ethnic groups.
However by concluding that the Sinhalese and
Tamil people are effectively identical, and
indigenous the study also provides a basis
for unity. What distinguishes the people of
this island is not genetics but only
languages and religions introduced
relatively recently from abroad.
While this is fascinating theory it is
despite the genetic component of the
research being definitive and does not by
any means settle the historical issue
regarding the origins of this island's
presentinhabitants. What the study does do
however is make it clear that there is a
need to reopen the debate regarding the
origins of civilisation on this island.
While in other parts of the world history
has been subject to revision, re-examination
and debate, in Sri Lanka history or the
study of history has since the mid 20th
century been largely stagnant with
established versions - the Vijayan legends
etc. etched in stone.
The debate, discussion and exploration of
this country's history has largely vanished
from the public eye and today history is
confined to outdated text books and dusty
unvisited museums. This is ultimately a
great shame as history is vital not simply
as the study of a static past but in terms
of establishing identity in the present.
The ethnic conflict however has politicized
and restricted its study with various
established biases serving both warring
parties and the ultimate loser has been as
ever the people of this country who have
been deprived of a fuller understanding of
this country's fascinating past.
While theories regarding the origins of the
Sinhala and Tamil people on the island
invariably lead to heated debate the
ultimate objective of historical
investigation should not be to propose any
one view as definitively right but rather
through the analysis of many considered
points of view to come to a clearer version
of our history. And of course to discover if
we really are genetically at least still the
nagas and yakshas of 14000 years ago.
The gift of hearing
By Nirmala Kannangara
The children with their
mother and grandmother
He who has health has hope, and he who
has hope has everything. - Arabian
Little Dilshan (nine years) and Sandali (six
years) are deaf from birth but unlike other
small children of their age, they are
determined to overcome their disability
although their parents are not financially
strong to give their two children some sort
of hope in their quest.
Both Dilshan and Sandali were born deaf and
these two innocent, helpless children are
wondering as to why only both of them have
to suffer this way seeing how happily their
own cousins are communicating with their
"When these two children meet their cousins
who are of the same age they always come to
me and from their gestures they ask me as to
why they cannot talk. This hurts me a lot
and there were numerous occasions when I
felt like committing suicide as I was
unable to get them the hearing aids that the
National Council for the Deaf (NCD) has
recommended," said Ganga, the heartbroken
mother of the two children.
According to her the doctors have failed to
ascertain as to why both her children are
deaf although the parents are not blood
"Ours is an arranged marriage and the
doctors are wondering as to why this
happened to both my children. My son was
eight months old when we understood that he
was deaf but kept on taking him to various
doctors to get him cured but to no avail,"
this young, innocent mother told The Sunday
This young mother came to The Sunday Leader
office a few days ago with her two children
seeking assistance from the newspaper to
get her precious children some help from the
"We are staying at 142 D, Wathupitiwala,
Nittambuwa in the Gampaha District. Since
there was no other way we could collect
money to buy the hearing aids for the two
children we thought that we should come to
this newspaper to get some kind of
publicity," said the mother.
According to the Lady Ridgeway Children's
Hospital medical reports both Dilshan and
Sandali are suffering from profound
bilateral hearing loss and need powerful
behind the ear hearing aids if they are to
overcome their illness.
"We even took these two children to see a
doctor at the Nawaloka Hospital and after
thorough examinations the doctor said that
both my children are suffering from profound
bilateral hearing losses. He refunded the
consultation fees and wanted us to go to the
NCD for assistance," said the mother.
Second child also born deaf
"When we took our son to the doctors when he
was small the doctors advised us to have
another child and once he is with another
child he would be able to overcome his
illness. But instead what happened was my
other child too was born deaf and I cannot
bear the pain now. A mother who is
undergoing such a situation would know the
pain and agony I am going through. I have
still failed to get the hearing aids for my
children for which they were longing for a
long time," said the mother.
Children are assets to the parents. They
want to keep their children happy and never
want to see them suffering. To see their
children undergo undue hardships due to an
illness is the worst nightmare any parent
would go through.
Saman Priyantha, the father of these two
children is a private bus driver and does
not earn more than Rs.500 per day according
to the mother.
"That five hundred rupees is not enough to
meet the daily needs as we need Rs.300 per
day for the bus fares. We need to take the
two children to the St. Joseph's Deaf School
at Ragama. Since my children are deaf and
small I cannot control both the children
together on the road and hence my mother too
joins me to take the children to school.
From Wathupitiwala to Nittambuwa we go by
bus and from there to Kadawatha and from
Kadawatha to Ragama, we have to take three
buses and return. We are surviving with the
balance two hundred rupees only," added the
However she said that although she finds it
extremely difficult to provide three square
meals for the children she manages to give
the children what they want and if there is
any food left she would give her mother and
the husband and she survives with a piece of
Needs Rs. 200,000
"Although my two children attend the school
for the deaf, without hearing aids they
cannot attend the special speech therapy
classes. At school they give the children
who do not have hearing aids second hand
hearing aids. If any kind person or
organisation could get my children hearing
aids which amount to around Rs.200,000, I
would be very grateful to them as I want to
bring up my precious children as normal as
possible. I could even sacrifice our day to
day needs," claimed the mother.
According to the medical reports both the
children have to wear two hearing aids each
and little Sandali's hearing aid is more
expensive than her brother Dilshan's.
"My daughter's hearing ability is less than
that of my son's and as a result her hearing
aid is much more expensive compared to my
son's," the mother said.
According to the NCD the hearing aids for
both the children will cost a little more
According to the health authorities these
powerful behind-ear hearing-aids are the
best devices to give extremely deaf patients
the ability to hear thus enabling them to
The kids' mother told The Sunday Leader that
the ENT doctor who treats the two children
has said that the recommended equipment
would give a normal life to her children.
"Since I know that those who have money read
this paper I came all the way from
Wathupitiwala to Ratmalana to get my plight
highlighted in your paper. Since I did not
know the way to this office I requested my
husband to accompany us today but as he will
not earn the day's wages he went to work and
that is why I had to come with my mother.
From morning we have been starving," added
What this mother wants is not any financial
assistance. If any person or any
organisation could buy the hearing aids for
the children that would be the greatest joy
for her and her innocent children as that
alone could bring a ray of sunshine to their
According to the grandmother of the children
there were numerous occasions when the bus
conductors have insulted the children as
they could not hear the conductors'
"Its really disheartening to see how these
people scold our children even after
understanding that they are deaf. My
daughter has tried to commit suicide several
times because she could not bear these
insults and if they get the sympathy of the
readers these innocent children could lead a
normal life," said the grandmother.
Be my sweet Valentine
So it's Valentine's Day once again. The
commercial aspect of it is very apparent
these days. Red roses will be exorbitant,
restaurants will advertise tantalising
sounding menus, jewellers will also offer
various items in heart shapes, and
stationers will be stocked with cards and so
The young boys are much bolder than in our
time. I've actually seen them buying saucy
lingerie during this week. Just imagine if
any boy we knew gave us undies as a gift, he
would probably get a resounding smack on the
cheek and it would be flung back at his
face! Well, I'm speaking for myself.
Valentine's Day is supposed to be the
combination of a Roman and Christian
tradition. Emperor Claudius II decreed that
all soldiers in his army should be unwed. He
thought women in their lives would limit
their performance. So this priest Valentine
went around marrying couples in secret since
he didn't approve of it.
Fell in love
When he was found out and thrown in jail, he
fell in love with the jailor's daughter and
supposedly sent her a love letter signed
from your Valentine. So Valentine's Day is
celebrated on the day he was executed or
The oldest known Valentine is supposed to be
a poem from Charles, the Duke of New
Orleans, to his wife, whilst he was
imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Cupid is also prominently featured during
Valentine's Day. He was the son of the
Goddess Venus. She was jealous of the beauty
of a woman called Psyche and commanded Cupid
to shoot his golden arrows at her so she
would fall in love with the most loathsome
creature on earth. But Cupid fell in love
with her, and though Venus set many
obstacles in their way, love triumphed in
the end and she was allowed to become
immortal and live happily ever after with
A funny Valentine episode was when this lady
decided to cook her husband this special
meal. She decided to do lobster as the main
course with a starter of oysters. A gourmet
meal with aphrodisiac possibilities!
She set the stage before her husband came
home, champagne on ice, soft music,
candlelight and kept the dinner in the oven
so it would be warm when he arrived. She
went to have a shower, and her husband
arrived before she had finished, to a house
reeking of burnt seafood and billowing
Alas, it had got burnt and the whole house
stank so they had to open the doors and
windows. They ordered pizza and whilst
waiting for it she remembered the oysters in
the fridge. So they had that, and were down
with food poisoning the next day! The
draperies and carpets smelt bad for days.
Then this other guy was going to pop the
question to his current girlfriend after
cooking her a fancy dinner at his place.
Just as he was about to propose, the
telephone rang, and since it was closer to
her, his girlfriend answered, only to find
it was his ex calling him!
Origins of Valentine's Day
So understandably, she stormed off in a
huff, whilst he had to go chasing behind her
on the street wildly explaining that he
hadn't heard from the ex for years, and he
had planned to propose to her tonight and
finally going down on his knees in public!
All's well that ended well.
Then I have to share this hilarious mail I
received which gave the origins of
Valentine's Day, (with a thousand apologies
to any Indians reading this, I hope I won't
offend your sensibilities!) This claimed
that Valentine's Day originated hundreds of
years ago in India, in the state of Gujarat.
Apparently the men were quite mean to the
women and one wife having had enough of
this, beat him up with a rolling pin used to
make chapatis called a velan.
It was February 14. The news spread like
wildfire, and soon all the women in Gujarat
started beating up their husbands. So the
men learnt to be more respectful towards
their women. To commemorate that eventful
day, every year they would beat up their
husbands who would submit to the will of the
women they loved.
The men realised that in order to avoid
this, at this time they would have to give
their wives flowers, sweets and other
goodies. So, this is how 'Velan Time'
originated. After Gujarat became influenced
by Western British culture, the word
Velantime got anglicised to Valentine! And a
very Happy Valentine's Day to you all!
- Honky Tonk Woman
Gifts for mother
Three sons left home, went out on their own
and prospered. Getting together for
Christmas, they discussed the gifts they
were able to give their elderly mother.
The first said, "I built a big house for our
The second said, "I sent her a Mercedes."
The third smiled and said, "I've got you
both beat. You remember how mom enjoyed
reading the Bible? And you know she can't
see very well. So I sent her a remarkable
parrot that recites the entire Bible. It
took elders in the church 12 years to teach
him. He's one of a kind. Mom just has to
name the chapter and verse, and the parrot
Mom sent out her letters of thanks:
"Dear Milton," she wrote one son, "The house
you built is too huge. I live in only one
room, but I have to keep the whole house
"Dear Gerald," she wrote to another, "I am
too old to travel. I stay at home most of
the time, so I rarely use the Mercedes."
"Dearest Donald," she wrote to her third
son, "You have the good sense to know what
your Mother likes.
The chicken was delicious!"
Compassion by post
A Post Office worker at the main sorting
office, finds an unstamped and very poorly
handwritten envelope addressed to God.He
opens it and discovers that it was written
by an elderly lady who is distressed because
$100 (all of her life savings) had been
stolen. She said that she would be cold and
hungry this Christmas without divine
He shares the letter with his fellow postal
workers and they all dig deep in their
pockets and come up with $96. They sent it
to her by special courier that same morning.
A week later, the same postal worker
recognises the same handwriting on another
envelope. He opens it and reads....." Dear
God, Thank you for the $100 for Christmas,
which would have been so bleak and cold
otherwise. P.S. It was four dollars short
but that was probably because of those
thieving bums at the Post Office."
Three guys are convicted of a very serious
crime, and they're all sentenced to 20 years
in solitary confinement.
They're each allowed one thing to bring into
the cell with them. The first guy asks for a
big stack of books. The second guy asks for
his wife. And the third guy asks for two
hundred cartons of cigarettes.
At the end of the 20 years, they open up the
first guy's cell.
He comes out and says, "I studied so hard.
I'm so bright now, I could be a lawyer. It
was terrific." They open up the second guy's
door. He comes out with his wife, and
they've got five new kids. He says. "It was
the greatest thing of my life. My wife and I
have never been so close. I have a beautiful
new family. I love it." They open up the
third guy's door, and he's slapping at his
pockets, going "Anybody got a match?"
A lawyer was walking down the street and saw
an auto accident. He rushed over, started
handing out business cards, and said, "I saw
the whole thing. I'll take either side."
A different job, please
Several years ago, Andy was sentenced to
prison. During his stay, he got along well
with the guards and all his fellow inmates.
The warden saw that deep down, Andy was a
good person and made arrangements for Andy
to learn a trade while doing his time. After
three years, Andy was recognised as one of
the best carpenters in the local area. Often
he would be given a weekend pass to do odd
jobs for the citizens of the community....
and he always reported back to prison before
Sunday night was over.
The warden was thinking of remodeling his
kitchen and in fact had done much of the
work himself. But he lacked the skills to
build a set of kitchen cupboards and a large
counter top which he had promised his wife.
So he called Andy into his office and asked
him to complete the job for him.
But, alas, Andy refused. He told the warden,
"Gosh, I'd really like to help you but
counter fitting is what got me into prison
in the first place."
Last night there was a big fight in our
local fish and chip shop - a lot of fish got
Ambulance or police
A woman woke her husband one night and said,
'There's a burglar in the kitchen eating my
home-made steak and kidney pie!'
'Oh dear: said her husband. 'Who shall I
call, police or ambulance?'
There was me and my brother, in this cottage
in the country, all on our own in the dead
of night. My brother said, 'What was that
noise? I thought I heard an owl.'
I said, 'You probably did. I stepped on the
The pilot and the psychiatrist
Why did the airline pilot go to see a
He thought that he was plane crazy.
Appreciate our wife
A psychiatrist is a person who will give you
expensive answers that your wife will give
you for free.
He knows you
An elderly couple was driving across the
country. While the woman was behind the
wheel, the couple was pulled over by the
"Ma'am, did you know you were speeding?" the
The woman, hard of hearing, turned to her
husband and asked, "What did he say?"
"He said you were speeding!" the old man
The patrolman then asked, "May I see your
The woman turned to her husband again, "What
did he say?"
The old man yelled back, "He wants to see
The woman then gave the officer her license.
"I see you are from
the patrolman said. "I spent some time there
once and went on a blind date with the
ugliest woman I've ever seen."
The woman turned to her husband again and
asked, "What did he say?"
The old man replied, "He said he knows you."
A different Bhadraji
The photo of Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka
published in the article written by
Risidra Mendis on Page 29 of our issue
of February 1, titled 'Lankan novelist,
singer, actor and artist going places
.was not of Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilaka
who was interviewed.
We regret the inconvenience caused to